A Note to Readers: I’ve made the decision to make my latest post into a multi-part series exploring both my understanding of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and why I struggle with publicly calling myself an Objectivist—primarily because of Dr. Yaron Brook and the Ayn Rand Institute distorting important aspects of her philosophy. This is part one of a five-part series.
I’m officially incensed.
This may not surprise longtime readers, if any are left, but it will surprise anyone who’s kept up with the last few sporadic posts. Even I would agree my blog has gotten a lot less entertaining, because I don’t give nearly enough of a shit about neurotic nitpicking, which means I have less to rant about, and the things I do rant about are more political and socioeconomical in nature. Hot-button issues, and so on.
In order to explain why I am incensed, I need to make a couple of things clear. First, I’ve alluded a couple of times to having read a mysterious, life-changing book that helped crystallize my thoughts about society and the world around me. If you are a longtime reader, it will probably surprise you to learn that book is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and that I’ve spent a lot of time in the intervening two years reading about her philosophy of Objectivism, other schools of philosophy, and religion.
I’ve never brought any of this up, because I get along much better with people who brand themselves as liberals than those who brand themselves as conservatives, and liberals haaaaate Ayn Rand. Every time I’ve brought up the mystery book, I’ve noted that it would remain anonymous because I don’t have any interest in arguing with people. I still don’t, on this blog or in life. All of my closest friends know I’ve read Ayn Rand’s work and see it hasn’t turned me into a demonic Wall Street cokehead, or worse, Paul Ryan. The only change in our relationship is that occasionally we challenge each others’ views a little more fervently. What I’ve found with most of them, though, is that we generally agree on most issues; we just disagree on the best methods for solving problems.
On a blog… Well, I just never cared to discuss it. I spent a week arguing about fucking Daybreakers; imagine how much more aggressive I’d be if someone attacked a thing I actually care about. The anonymous internet, I’ve found, doesn’t lend itself to high-quality, well-reasoned arguments, especially about Ayn Rand. I see attacks on her all the time, and not just on articles directly related to her. I often see non sequiturs in the comments sections (I really need to stop reading those…) of articles about some form of conservative victory or Tea Party retardation. They tell me, quite clearly, that the author has no idea what they’re talking about. The fine work of Yaron Brook, as President and Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, has confused the left as much as the right in its attempts to transform Rand into the voice of the neo-conservative movement.
Should I try to step in and change their minds? I’m not an activist, so it’s partly an issue of time management—wasting a bunch of my own time trying to open up closed minds—but mainly an issue that I don’t give a fuck what other people believe, unless it has the possibility of hurting other people (especially me). An idiot on a blog who parrots something a comedian who never read Ayn Rand says about Atlas Shrugged has no effect on me, so let them go on thinking what they do. I can think they’re wrong and criticize them, but turning it into an argument means trying to persuade them that their entire belief system is wrong, which it probably is, but I don’t care.
In a sense, though, I’m “outing” myself here now as a form of indirect activism. I’m so irritated that I need to express my frustration in the form of a blog post—that’s what it’s here for, right?—and because Yaron Brook isn’t just an idiot on a blog who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.