Sunday, October 25, 2009

Response to: Mark Sanford on Ayn Rand

* Mark Sanford on Ayn Rand *

[I am an Objectivist-Thomist. I voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 because Mr. McCain is anti-capitalism (his hero is President Theodore Roosevelt), and because the Republican Party has been highjacked by theocrats. I created these topics on Goodreads Tea Party: John Allison for President 2012!! on June 20, 2009 after I joined the Facebook group with the same name, and Mark Sanford 2012 fourteen days earlier. I regularly update the latter with Facebook information which I receive as a Facebook fan of Governor Sanford.]

Governor Sanford presents and agrees with the essentials in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. He concludes, “… this is a very good time for a Rand resurgence. She's more relevant than ever.”

The Governor has mixed premises – he was blown away when he read these novels, he remains in-between loving or hating them, and has “grown more critical of Rand's outlook because it doesn't include the human needs we have for grace, love, faith, or any form of social compact.”

The article references Heller's book, and mentions Ayn’s “chief acolyte (and lover)” and her “dictatorial control over her inner circle”.

One’s private life is no one’s business. Everyone deserves privacy. Even the dead. One who disrespects privacy is no respecter of rights.

To repeat what you do not know firsthand is gossip. A decent person rejects hearsay and would judge Ayn Rand by her books, articles, public speeches, and TV appearances. Running one’s inner circle like a volunteer army is not inconsistent with reverence for individual liberty because one is free to join or stay away, and one knows the rules beforehand.

What Governor Sanford considers as “major flaw in Rand's thinking”, I consider his: “Galt … explicitly denies the existence of original sin. The idea that man is perfectible has been disproved by 10,000 years of history. Men and women are imperfect, or "fallen," …” This reveals a belief in a malevolent God. The original sin creed portrays God as unjust. To hold that man is imperfect and non-perfectible is to claim that God is a sadist. Pointing to history as proof that human beings are “fallen” is to evade the history of the United States and the Industrial Revolution.

The Governor goes on to say: “Men and women are imperfect, or ‘fallen,’ which is why I believe there is a role for limited government in making sure that my rights end where yours begin. There is a role for a limited government in thwarting man's more selfish instincts that might limit the freedoms or opportunities of others.”

Ayn Rand said that the only function of law and of government is the protection of individual rights. She revered the Founders: “If it is ever proper for men to kneel, we should kneel when we read the Declaration of Independence.”

Governor Sanford thinks, “… at a fundamental level many people recognize Rand's essential truth…”

Honesty is fidelity to the truth. The truth is what conforms to reality. Integrity is fidelity to logic. It is the refusal to hold contradictions; it is the consistent cohesion of words and deeds; it is honoring one’s mental creations by giving them physical existence.

The right to the pursuit of happiness is the right to selfishness. One not concerned with oneself has no desire to live. The concept of one’s concern for oneself, represented by the word selfishness, has been twisted to mean malevolence towards others. Those who desire to live but accept the twisted meaning of selfishness unwittingly facilitate insidious destroyers. Unable to rule nor influence individuals who accept no guilt in their desire to live and pursue happiness, destroyers demonize their core by associating callousness and malevolence with selfishness.

Is major swindler Bernard Madoff selfish or selfless? The basic selfishness criteria are self-preservation and self-reliance followed by self-love and self-respect. Bernard Madoff is not self-reliant. A dependent, he fed off his victims. Unmindful of losing his liberty, he committed massive fraud. Self-preservation is clearly absent – Madoff does not value himself. He fails even the basic selfishness test. Madoff is selfless.

Selfless means no self: no self-esteem, no self-respect, no self-love.

Independent equals must choose: self-reliance or dependence. Self-reliance requires selfishness. Dependence breeds moochers, looters, and rulers.

The sixteenth amendment, a stick-up of hard-earned wages, tramples on the Declaration of Independence and incinerates property rights. The Antitrust Law spits on logic, puffing up that free competition must be enforced! Undefined, flexible, contradictory laws are hailed. Sacrifice is the Holy Grail. Selfishness is trumpeted as having horns, a pointed tail, and a pitchfork.

Honesty demands that one’s soul be put on trial: The advocacy or sanction of coercion is the mark of evil. Integrity must be summoned to reclaim the Declaration of Independence from the clutches of sacrifice glorifiers.

Check your premises on selfishness. Self-preservation requires it.
The Republican Party shares Governor Sanford’s mixed premises and evasions. I hope his party heeds his advice: “… this is a very good time for a Rand resurgence.” Otherwise, the choice in the once Land of the Free will continue to be: toward-socialism or toward-theocracy.


Alan said...

Let me understand this. You're an "Objectivist-Thomist", and you accuse *Gov. Sanford* of mixed premises?

Ilyn Ross said...

State the mixed premise of an Objectivist-Thomist.

Brother M said...

How do you equate Original Sin with a malevolent God? I recommend thoroughly researching that statement. Should a father expect obedience from his children? Is he a "malevolent father" if he disciplines them? And how does a malevolent God find room for grace and forgiveness? That you would state something so absurd evidences your ignorance of the story, it's implications, and it's significance. I have enjoyed Ayn Rand's work for most of my life. I've read all of her fiction and most of her nonfiction works. But it became clear very early in my study of Randian Objectivism that it is inconsistent and incomplete. For example: if someone (God forbid) raped your mother would you take a "rationally objective" stance? Could you look her in the eye and say "Mom, I know it was uncomfortable, but since there is no true good or evil it really wasn't morally wrong. " that's just a superficial shortcoming. Randian objectivism is a mechanism used to excuse ones selfish behavior. If you really want to take an objective look at your life I challenge you to look from the outside in. If you simply stand your ground your perspective can't truly be objective, can it? To truly be objective you would have to hold yourself and everyone else to the same standard. But if there is no God, no perspective beyond the self, than where does that standard come from? And if we simply ignore that, being objective necessitates equality. If we are all equal than how does one justify selfishness? Top to bottom Randian Objectivism is insufficient to be considered philosophy outside of, we'll, Randian Objectivism. Ps: Rand did not pioneer objectivism, she hijacked it, added some, deleted some, and it shows in the logic. Do some research. You'll be glad you did.