Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Devil and Ayn Rand

Someone in the comboxes asked an interesting question:

How can the complete absence of force in the relations between men be described as evil? That is the essence of Ms. Rand's philosophy.

Well, if you're starting from a position that Objectivism is good, then it is difficult to prove it evil. The complete absence of force in relations is, on it's face, complete neutrality, and therefore cannot be considered a good. Any action is a force. How can the complete absence of action be considered evil? If I leave someone alone, I cannot claim to have helped them. A homeless person holds a sign asking for help, and thereby has forced his way into my consciousness, how do I respond? Walking down the street, I witness an assault in progress. Do I force my sense of justice on the victim and the assailant?

I begin from a philosophy 1900 years older than Ms. Rand's. I am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, also known to the masses as Jesus H. Christ. The complete absence of EMPATHY in relations between men is evil. The complete absence of Charity in the relations between men is evil. To Objectivism's ego-centric goal of self-satisfaction, true Empathy and Charity are anathema. Ayn Rand:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

Contrast with the philosophy of Jesus, in essence, is the concept of man as a created being, with his obedience to his Creator as the moral purpose of his life, with selfless giving to others as his noblest activity, and faith, hope and love his only absolutes. Ayn Rand's 'men' are only heroic to themselves. A quick glance at a definition of a hero:

From the Greek ἣρως, in mythology and folklore, a hero (male) or heroine (female) are characters that in the face of danger and adversity, from a position of weakness display courage and the will for self-sacrifice, that is, heroism, for some greater good, originally of martial courage or excellence, but extended to more general moral excellence.

I am not a philosopher, nor can I debate the merits of Kant over Nietzsche. All I know is that Socrates, himself, is particularly missed. A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.

3 comments:

Billiam said...

I never understood so many people's attraction to and reverence for, Rand. I haven't read any of her books, although a friend said to read "Atlas Shrugged". I agree with what you said about my Christ, however.

DigiHairshirt said...

I have read both "Atlas Shrugged," "Anthemn," and "The Fountainhead." The characters are superficially admirable, but not much more beyond that. However, I wouldn't mind having a mojito with Francisco D'Anconia.

St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

I wouldn't mind having a cup of mead with Ragnar Danneskjold.