The Problem With Ayn Rand Is Not What She Said, But Who Listens To Her.
Philosophers are great. In a sense, they are very much like artists and writers; they hold a mirror to us and they change our view of the world. What they are not however are political scientists or economists and most of us know this. No policy maker ever says “I’m an existentialist and therefore I don’t make policy because none of it matters” or “I’m I’m a utilitarian and therefore only that which works for most is the only kind of policy I will pass, even if it kills thousands.” And yet, this is exactly what people who follow Ayn Rand do.
Ayn Rand wrote some interesting things. A lot of it doesn’t pass the critical thinking test, but it is attractive to all those who have a natural inclination to be selfish and now they have a whole philosophy to excuse their inner 5-year-old: it’s all about me. But that wouldn’t be a problem if her thoughts and opinions that are based on zero science or research, were not used for very real and consequential things, like monetary policy of the United States.
Her opinion made Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve Chairman and her once lover lead the entire country straight into the 2008 crash. Her opinions have stagnated national investment into everything from infrastructure to education because hundreds of her devotees in congress believe that kids should not expect help from anyone but themselves and teach themselves physics because taxation is theft. There’s an entire party now that pretends to be independent except during elections, the Libertarians, whose entire moto is selfishness above all because that’s what Rand said and we have no interest in checking if what she said is true or actually works. There’s a guy out there who was named for her, (poor bastard) whose whole life is based on being proven wrong but never seeing it, but gets paid to do it and making terrible policy for Kentucky while he’s at it.
Ayn Rand needs to be proven scientifically and factually wrong. She is every day but not explicitly and if she has, it has to be in a way that people actually hear and understand. It is absurd that people who base their decicions on research would ignore research and base their decisions on a philosophy who has no credibility in their field and this religious behavior leads to disaster over and over again.
Let’s break her cult, let’s end her grip on how our country runs. She is as interesting to read as Camus or Aristotle, but we don’t run monetary or government policy based on their words, we shouldn’t use her words either.