Ayn Rand's Objectivism is based on little more than a fine Russian/European tradition of obscurantist philosophy and a number of patently false axioms. For example, as soon as you recognize that reproduction is as ultimate a goal as life, then egoism doesn't make sense.
The great appeal of Objectivism is that its writings are aimed at adolescents, the age group where nothing is as desperately wanted as independence and assurance of a road to prosperity through the actions they can control, their independent effort. Because they have essentially nothing to compare to, their privileged upbringing as dependent recipients of largess from their parents is easily ignored: it's background. Which of course is the reason why children are so little mentioned in Rand's work.
- Objectivist Critiques Of Libertarianism (3 links)
- Rand and her followers have always been contemptuous of libertarianism. Those darned libertarians did not see the necessity of her cult's logic! More likely, they simply hate their closest competitor.
- A Is A (3 links)
- Also known as the law of identity, is a worthless piece of philosophical drivel that plainly doesn't apply to the real world and seems to be unnecessary in mathematics. Objectivists use it as a shibboleth.
- Are Capitalism, Objectivism, and Libertarianism Religions? Yes! (book, online)
- "Dr Albert Ellis debunks Ayn Rand, Greenspan, the Wall Street Journal, Libertarians, Objectivists and other capitalist fanatics. He points out the psychological dangers of following these beliefs as well as the absurdities in their assertions."
- Atlas Shrugged (book) (9 links)
- (1957) Ayn Rand's horribly written young-adult fiction. A grotesque self-parody.
- Ayn Rand (39 links)
- Anybody who thinks Rand is a great author or a great philosopher can be immediately discounted. She was the Horatio Alger of her era. See also Objectivism, her cult philosophy.
- Ayn Rand (graphic novel) [More...]
- A 63 page webcomic detailing the nasty life of Ayn Rand. No sugar-coating from her sycophants here: lots of hypocrisy illustrated clearly. Based on Ayn Rand and the World She Made, and Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.
- Ayn Rand was not a libertarian
- Yes she was. Her minarchist splinter sect (Objectivism) was distinguished by different pretentious bullshit philosophy, but nothing else. She hated other libertarians because they were rivals who dared to disagree with her, the same as happens in any other frequently schismatic cult religion or philosophy.
- BadPhilosophy, search for libertarian, Rand, and objectivism. [More...]
- The BadPhilosophy reddit routinely scoffs at libertarianism, Ayn Rand and Objectivism.
- Bullies, Sissies And Other Libertarian Nutjobs [More...]
- Shanu Athiparambath's personal story of the wackiness of libertarians in India. Libertarianism is cross-culturally looney. He includes some excellent, relevant cartoons; but without needed statements of permission from their authors.
- Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (book)
- A biography of Rand that doesn't flatter her.
- I Was A Teenage Randroid [More...]
- "Looking back, I try not to beat myself up about my four lost years as a Randroid[...] Despite the fact that everyday reality contradicts the tenets of Objectivism, Randroids hold Rand’s teachings as the supreme distillation of that reality. Cult leaders couldn’t hope for better."
- Objectivism, Libertarianism and Anarchism [More...]
- It's a three-way cage match to determine which ideology is the true standard bearer for liberty! An index of 25 webbed articles at the Objectivism Reference Center. A pox on all their houses.
- Our Daughter Isn't A Selfish Brat; Your Son Just Hasn't Read Atlas Shrugged [More...]
- An excellent satire on what Objectivist child-rearing might be like, if any Objectivists could be socialized enough to actually bear children.
- Rand's work: style and quality [More...]
- Why academics disdain the slipshod work of Rand and her major followers.
- Rational != Self-interested [More...]
- "Rationality and self-interest are two dimensions of behavior[...] You can pursue non-self-interested goals in rational or irrational ways, and you can pursue self-interested goals in rational or irrational ways."
- RationalWiki : Objectivism [More...]
- The RationalWiki article on Objectivism. A readable big-picture overview of the innumerable faults.
- A long-supplanted philosophical methodology that is preoccupied with "true" definitions of words, a priori knowledge, logic, deduction, system, and its literary form of syllogistic argumentation. Apriorism and avoidance of empiricism are characteristic.
- The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult [More...]
- Murray Rothbard's scathing description of 1972 Objectivism as a cult. "Thus, power not liberty or reason, was the central thrust of the Randian movement." Excellent reporting.
- Why I Am Not an Objectivist [More...]
- Libertarian philosopher Michael Huemer accepts all but one of Ayn Rand's five major Objectivist claims: he does not agree that "Every person should always be selfish."
- William Buckley on Ayn Rand
- William Buckley puts Ayn Rand in her place. Pages xx to xxii from the introduction to American Conservative Thought in the Twentieth Century by William Buckley.
Since many of the people who take a similar position [libertarianism] are narrow and rigid, and filled, paradoxically, with resentment at other freer ways of being, my now having natural responses which fit the theory puts me in some bad company.
Robert Nozick, "Anarchy, State, and Utopia"
One cannot overstate the childishness of the ideas that feed and stir the masses. Real ideas must as a rule be simplified to the level of a child's understanding if they are to arouse the masses to historic actions. A childish illusion, fixed in the minds of all children born in a certain decade and hammered home for four years, can easily reappear as a deadly serious political ideology twenty years later.
Sebastian Haffner, "Defying Hitler: A Memoir", pg. 17.
There has been a good deal of confused controversy about the question of "value judgments" in the social sciences. Every human being has ideological, moral and political views. To pretend to have none and to be purely objective must necessarily be either self-deception or a device to deceive others. A candid writer will make his preconceptions clear and allow the reader to discount them if he does not accept them. This concerns the professional honour of the scientist.
Joan Robinson, "Freedom and Necessity" p.122.
The notion of right and wrong is a human device, a utilitarian precept designed to make social cooperation under the division of labor possible. All moral rules and human laws are means for the realization of definite ends. There is no method available for the appreciation of their goodness or badness other than to scrutinize their usefulness for the attainment of the ends chosen and aimed at
Ludwig von Mises, "Human Action: The Scholar's Edition" p. 716.
Libertarian capitalism... is a curious ideology in many ways... On the one hand, the sanctity of private property and private contracts is held to be a matter of inalienable natural right, guaranteed by the fundamental facts of morality, if not a basic part of Objective Reality; capitalism is the Right Thing to Do. On the other hand, much effort is devoted to arguing that unfettered laissez-faire capitalism is also the economic system which will produce the greatest benefit for the greatest number, indeed for all, if only people would just see it. Natural right therefore coincides exactly with personal interest. A clearer example of wishful thinking could hardly be asked for.
Cosima Shalizi, "Liberty! What Fallacies Are Committed in Thy Name!"
Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a "you're on your own" society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.
Barack Obama in "Obama and the Road Ahead: The Rolling Stone Interview"
So what is it that differentiates the writing of Rand from those of classic academics and professional philosophers? It is simply that her work has every appearance of an extended and multi-faceted straw man argument that fails to meet even the minimum standards of scholarship. It has all the marks of what in science would be pseudo-science. If there is such a thing as pseudo-philosophy, this is it.
Gary Merrill, "Rand's work: style and quality"