AYN RAND

Greetings,

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Ayn Rand’s birth. Normally I wouldn’t be commenting on a “philosopher” such as Rand, but I’ll explain why.

My friend Peter Jaworski (who’s at the London School of Economics at the moment) got hooked on Rand’s theories in second year at Queen’s. Her theories – free-market capitalism, objectivism – really spoke to him, so I got introduced to her via Peter’s readings.

I don’t agree with Rand’s views on most anything. She talks about the virtue of selfishness, and most of her economic arguments are pretty naive and fall into the realm of academic myopia. She thinks capitalism will somehow save us all (a ridiculous argument that only has validity if you assume humans are inherently rational and produce and consume resources, money and other tenets of capitalism at equal rates proportional to fellow individuals).

The one aspect of the libertarian/objectivist strand of thinking I can accept is their argument about the state not being involved in any way in the affairs of individuals in the civil society. I suppose that’s my liberal bias talking, but I can’t help it: I think there’s a place for government to create positive change in a society, but there should obviously be limits on where the state can go in our lives.

TWO MONTHS LEFT: Classes end here at King’s on April 8th. Crazy stuff – this program has completely raced by.

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