Saturday, September 15, 2007

Interesting NYT article on Ayn Rand

It makes a statement that should be looked at more closely, because it reveals a lot about Rand:

"Rand’s free-market philosophy was hard won. She was born in 1905 in Russia. Her life changed overnight when the Bolsheviks broke into her father’s pharmacy and declared his livelihood the property of the state. She fled the Soviet Union in 1926 and arrived later that year in Hollywood, where she peered through a gate at the set where the director Cecil B. DeMille was filming a silent movie, “King of Kings.”"

In other words she was a White Russian. The term White Russian refers to Russian exiles, as opposed to Red Russians i.e. pro-Soviet Russians still in Russia. This is important because the White Russians were the equivalent of the Cuban exile community in south Florida.

If someone from the Cuban exile community wrote a book about Castro and Castro's Cuba, or wrote an anti-Communist book inspired by their experiences as a young adult in Cuba, there'd be a question of its objectivity, of whether the book was really an honest examination of the issues or whether it was based on having an axe to grind against Communism and Cuba.

But with Rand her interpretation of her background and the idea that her background directly inspired her writings in the way she states, i.e. in a logical and purely philosophical way, is not questioned.

Why should anyone take Rand's philosophy at face value? She was a Russian exile with a grudge against the Russian state, which if we're looking at things objectively should be examined from all sides with Rand's version being looked at as critically as any other version.

But despite being called "Objectivism", her philosophy doesn't encourage people to look at things objectively but instead pushes people in the direction of confirming their own prejudices with a pseudo-philosophy that falsely claims that it's based on pure logic.

1 comment:

Johnny Lemuria said...

Are you seriously defending Castro's Cuba or Stalin's Russia? Besides, while her life experiences may have helped shape her philosophy, is that not true of everyone with a philosophy?
There are many reasons to disagree with Objectivism, but dismissing it because because its originator suffered a great trauma is not called for.