The Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth - Part 3 - Brotherhood of Hate


Michael Stuart Kelly

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The Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth – Part 3 – The Brotherhood of Hate

by Michael Stuart Kelly

The major premise of the Ayn Rand Love/Hate Myth is that the vast majority of people read Rand’s works, take from it what they want, and live their lives according to the dictates of their own conscious, neither loving nor hating Rand in fanatical terms.

In particular, they shy away from formal Objectivist organizations because of the nastiness they encounter. Formal Objectivism has the public image of being The Brotherhood of Hate. You might ask, “How about evidence?”

Well it’s coming home personally. And it’s not pretty.

Kat decided to email a person both of us like a lot with an invitation to comment on some of the issues on OL. We consider this person more than an acquaintance—more like a distant friend and wonderful person. This person used to post on different Objectivist forums and is what you could call one of the best and the brightest. Sunny disposition. Facts. Not afraid to speak sincerely.

Here was the response:

I've left the Oist community. I've no plans to return. Whatever Oism was, mainstream Oism today is little more than secular fundamentalism, and not in a good way. When I read quotes of Rand's Q&A sessions, I see so much spite in her words; the vast majority of Oists have followed this tradition of malice and intolerance toward all dissent, rational or otherwise -- the mark of fundamentalism. Once I started seeing myself act like that, I had to leave.

That really hit home to me. I am not an obnoxious person by nature. I am a sunny, happy person who likes to look at the smallest things and go on a poetic voyage – for example looking a city wall with peeled paint, imagining what kind of person painted that wall and what kind scraped it, their hopes and dreams and life at home. If they are lonely. What led them to that painting moment. Off I go.

I am not a person to come out with “go fuck yourself” as an argument for anything. Yet I was doing that. I had entered The Brotherhood of Hate and I was even defending that behavior at times.

Dayaamm!

Who did I think I was going to convince? Hell, who did I think would stick around for that stuff? Our dear friend did for a while. Then it became too much. Kat wrote this person back stating that OL is more interested in making a place where The Brotherhood of Hate does not have harbor. She also asked for permission to post the former email. The person said OK, but preferred to remain anonymous.

I wonder why, I wonder? (And I don’t blame this person.)

Anyway, the second email contained an even stronger message, so I am taking the liberty to quote an excerpt:

I hope you achieve your goal with OL, but, as with the starving baby example, I see the same events regardless of the community, which is why I won't show up on OL either. I've always been one for the middle ground, and my path in life will be found through "love and compassion tempered by logic and reason," to quote a dear friend of mine. There's just no room for that in Oism.

Love and compassion tempered by logic and reason.

That sounds like a wonderful phrase for what I seek in life. I know I speak for Kat on this too. Maybe for most of us who meet here on OL.

I wish to address this person now:

I hope you read this someday. I wish you the very best life has to offer throughout all your days. You are wise. Knowing you has enriched my life. You are my kind of people. (I speak for Kat too.)

I do disagree with you on one point though. You claim that there is no room for love and compassion tempered by logic and reason in Objectivism. Look around you at people who read Rand and who stay away from The Brotherhood of Hate. According to my analysis, this is over 98%. They are all around you. I call them The Silent Contingency. They have room in their lives for love and compassion and logic and reason.

There is room for this on OL too. And there will always be room for you, if you should ever change your mind.

Go in peace and happiness.

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" I've left the Oist community. I've no plans to return...the vast majority of Oists have followed this tradition of malice and intolerance toward all dissent, rational or otherwise -- the mark of fundamentalism. Once I started seeing myself act like that, I had to leave. "

I think this quote probably explains why the majority of people who were once attracted to Objectivism have drifted away over the years (if 80,000 people were on NBI's mailing list that means that the -majority- of those interested in the philosophy have abandoned interest in it or in the movement around it). Another reason, not unrelated is that they didn't understand it well enough before revulsion set in.

This is a "baby with the bath water" overreaction, of course. But it is understandable if someone found himself behaving unjustly or like the Lord High Inquisitor or otherwise irrationally in the name of Objectivism -- and had so much revulsion that he reacted violently against it all in toto. [i hope Barbara will discuss some of this in her Rage talk. Although rage is not the entire issue, it is enough to cover thoroughly in a single talk.]

In other words, it's the Objectivists who are killing Objectivism.

This is not a minor issue, and it's a key part of why I wanted TOC to start a soup to nuts training program covering skills, attitudes, implementation not just or primarily technical philosophy.

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