March 23, 2006

Objectivists (a.k.a. Randanistas)

A few weeks ago, dear reader, one of the junior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—was compelled to take in an academic lecture on Ayn Rand. A lady “Chip” knows was sponsoring the talk, and thus he felt obliged to attend.

Ayn Rand, for those of you who do not know her, is the guru of objectivism, a species of ultra-radical libertarianism. As far as we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are concerned, her pseudo-philosophy is pernicious. It seems to appeal to the type of people who would happily spend their careers evicting old people.

The objectivists cling to a particularly malignant form of Social Darwinism, according to which any kind of altruism is a cover for totalitarianism. To them, JFK’s famous “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” line is tantamount to evil. Objectivists like to picture themselves as embodiments of Nietzsche’s superman.

We mention all this, dear reader, because an objectivist happened to be in the audience for this humdrum academic lecture. And his activity at this talk struck “Chip” as perfect proof that objectivism is a bunch of hokum.

First, we should mention that the lecturer was not offering any kind of political riposte to Ayn Rand. Rather, he merely discussed her background and nattered on about her place in the libertarian movement. Not much fodder for an angry objectivist, “Chip” figured.

Ah, but “Chip” figured wrong. Immediately after the talk ended, this raging objectivist shot his hand up in the air and announced that he had a few questions. Before he even troubled to offer his opinions, you could already tell he was an unhinged whacko; he was talking to himself throughout the lecture and had a slight case of the shakes. He even interrupted a few times with some strange comments.

Anyway, his first question was the following: “Did you go to a public school?” Yep, that’s right; he asked a professor if he had ever attended a public school.

His reason? Well, because he went to a public school, and his violent reaction to it turned him on to the True Philosophy—the Philosophy of Ayn Rand. These and subsequent comments were so bizarre that the audience felt slightly less comfortable than Ariel Sharon at a Hamas barbeque.

And this gets us to our point. Objectivists claim to be rugged individualists appalled by any kind of altruism. Yet their social skills are so lacking that they essentially live off the altruism of others. This particular fellow—who seems par for the course among objectivists—wouldn’t last a day in a public school without massive amounts of sympathy from his classmates.

If these objectivist boobs love to tout their utter dedication to reason and rationality, why do they cling to this pathetic pseudo-philosophy with the faith of a fundamentalist? Perhaps if “Chip” weren’t sufficiently frightened by this objectivist, he would have asked.

Posted at March 23, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack