The Deification of Ayn Rand

Mike Renzulli

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**Warning: RANT Alert**

> The third branch of Objectivism are the Sense of Life Objectivists (aka SOLO) started by Lindsay Perigo. As opposed to ARI & TAS [Mike R]

1. Mike, SOLO is not a 'Branch' of Objectivism.

They would -love- to suck you in to describing them as that. They have made post after post peddling that crap. It's like Monte Carlo declaring itself a European Power. They have an HMS Pinafore monthly 'report' in which there is never anything to announce. Except that they invent new offices for each member. Pin medals on each other and create new fantastic titles. Director of World Op Ed Publicity and Conquest. Commissar of Phony Baloney. Chief of Invisible Projects and Ballyhoo.

I once published a newsletter -singlehandedly- which (apparently?? -- they are too embarrassed to tell the actual paid subscribership!!!) may have had more paid subscribers than SOLO's whole 'Branch' has with its Free Radical. That's what happens when you know what you're doing instead of strutting around in clown suits trying to prove how kassy (read: emotional) you are.

SOLO is little more than a website with little more than a *dozen or two* Kiwis who post frequently, not even causing a ripple in their islands, while each of ARI and TAS and their followers or sympathizers is *thousands* of people continent-wide, including people who have written books, been widely published, given summer conferences attended by hundreds. And each has supporters contributing over a million dollars a year and paying the salaries of their speakers, writers, and activists.

Just because some loudmouth with delusions of grandeur and fake statistics about people (and internet automated search engines) who browse past them one time and never come back can pay a few bucks a month to erect an online Potemkin Village doesn't mean they have any importance, any reach, any impact.

To confuse a mud-slinging, gossipy, semiliterate, character-assassinating, backbiting nucleus of a few with a shoestring internet presence -- who hold a well-publicized book event trying to ride on the hundreds attending an actual conference put on by one of the 'branches' and the number who attend the book event doesn't even reach double digits – and that’s including the speaker, flown in from another country, and the author and a childhood friend of the author . . .

To confuse this bush league. pompous buffoonery with an –actual- organized and staffed institution like ARI (or even the far smaller TAS) is to be completely misled.

[i mean, talk about that ludicrous sham of a book event put on by the hilariously clueless about PR and marketing SOLO people: For random comparison, at a bookstore near where I live I just happened to walk by a book talk by a virtually unknown memoir writer last week and there were fifty to a hundred people there...!! Of course, in that case it was organized by a professional, the publisher's PR person.]

It is also very misleading to view the intellectually bankrupt SOLO as if it had any intelligible viewpoint other than one of **tone**. "We are more emotionalist, ballsy, and confrontational than others". "We have courage and passion because we are not afraid to call you names at the drop of a hat." "The bulllies beat us up back when we were in school, but we're ready to be insulting now and call them sissies. From the safe distance of our keyboards." "We are ready to make fun of anyone who writes in a thoughtful, unemotional way, thereby proving our manhood."

(Diana's website, by comparison, at least gets a readership of a few dozen because her posts - sometimes - are perceptive or useful when she's not calling everyone outside of her branch immoral.)


2. On another matter, someone posted recently that "the 'internet" provides a way for someone to correct mistakes that someone like Ayn Rand might have made: Very simply, this confuses *potentiality* with actuality.

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[....] Objectivism advocates identity and 'metaphysical realism' in metaphysics, reason in epistemology, rational egoism in ethics, and laissez faire in human relationships and in economics and political theory. And all that those things imply . . . You have to add some more principles, but once one knows what those very abstract ideas mean -- they will define whether or not one is an Objectivist.

Demur and Disclaimer.

The Disclaimer is that I debated about saying anything in regard to Phil's description of the defining characteristic of an Objectivist, since I'm not desirous of becoming enmeshed in an argument about it.

However, for the record I feel obliged to enter a Demur:

I'd sign on to almost the entirety of "identity and 'metaphysical realism' in metaphysics, reason in epistemology, rational egoism in ethics, and laissez faire in human relationships and in economics and political theory. And all that those things imply . . ." (I'd hesitate over "identity," not being sure what Phil means. If he just means "A is A," ok.)

Nevertheless, I think this list is insufficient to make one an Objectivist. The trick is that Phil is apparently including without saying he's including Rand's theory of what reason is and how it operates and the particulars of her derivations in ethics and politics. But for big starters, I quarrel with Rand's theory of what reason is and how it operates, which quarrel leads to further issues of difference. Plus I have other issues of difference with how Rand argues for and what she means by "rational egoism" and with her defense of "laissez faire" (though I have fewer arguments with the latter than with the former features).



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I would like to repeat a question I have asked before to ARI followers and others like them.

The question when did Ayn Rand make a mistake other than the great error about Barbara and Nathaniel Branden. Was her low opinion of Ronald Reagan correct?

As I said before I observed that nothing Nathaniel Branden said before the Split was wrong and nothing he said after was right.

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Adding a couple points to my post #29:

Some people mistakenly say "I am not an Objectivist" because they disagree with Ayn Rand's views on current events or on psychology. Or on whether Immanuel Kant was evil or simply mistaken. But Objectivism is a school of philosophy, not psychology. It has NO POSITION on whether you should vote for a particular Republican or a particular Democrat as the lesser of two evils or for a Libertarian. Or on whether Victor Hugo or James Joyce is the better novelist.

You phrase that, Phil, in a way which to me indicates that you have a delimited view of the meaning of "psychology," hence of what a person might mean in speaking of having disagreements with Rand on psychology.

Speaking generally, all philosophies which are making an attempt at an embracing system will involve some view of human nature, especially including cognitive processes, characterologic processes, and basic needs. Rand had views on these issues, views which are entwined with her philosophy and can't just be teased out and set to one side while still having what's left be considered her philosophy.

(Also, a minor point: whether Victor Hugo or James Joyce is the better novelist is a question which classifies as belonging under the rubric of her aesthetics; her aesthetics wouldn't quite allow James Joyce the description "novelist.")

Regarding the [AR/NB break], if you wanted to learn the ideas of Behaviorism or Freudianism, would you spend time examining whether or not Freud or William James had a mistress? If you wanted to learn what were the breakthroughs of Isaac Newton which revolutionized physics, would you spend time studying which church he belonged to or his arcane speculations about numerology or religion or astrology?

No to both questions if your immediate purpose was to learn the ideas. But there are other purposes for which examining such issues as whether or not Freud or William James had a mistress and Newton's non-physics explorations are relevant. (Btw, was it a slip, your saying "Behaviorism" and then listing "William James"? James wasn't a Behaviorist.)

In regard to Freud, there's a life-history and development-of-ideas issue with a degree of similarity to the AR/NB break. It involves Sabina Spielrein. A glimpse of the issue can be acquired from this wikipedia link. The description there presents a certain viewpoint of what was going on with Jung and Spielrein, and says only a sentence hinting that Spielrein might have been a factor in the break between Jung and Freud. Sounds to me as if the Wiki piece was written by a Freudian. ;-)

In regard to James, the relationships with his father and with his brother Henry have some significance to the development of his thought.

In regard to Newton, one would never come to an understanding of Newton's mentality -- how he viewed the world, how his mind worked, the intellectual total in which he thought -- without considering the whole set and interrelationship of his interests. It was a mistake made for a long while in historiography about Newton, the attempt to bracket off his pursuits other than physics and calculus as an embarrassment to the image of Newton Scientist. Only in the relatively recent past have all his other writings been examined, and a much more comprehensive picture of Newton formed.



Edited by Ellen Stuttle
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My constant parusing of SOLO's website leads to the same conclusion, Michael. :)

I pointed out SOLO as being a third faction since it seems they are in a similar vain as the Tibetan faction of Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism doesn't seem to have spread outside of Tibet itself much similar to SOLO's version of Objectivism.

Now, how much for that statue? ;-)

ARI and TAS = Jumbo jets

Solo Passion = Plastic trycicle with a busted axle


Edited by Mike Renzulli
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