Gore Vidal Sums Up Ayn Rand's Philosophy

“Ayn Rand's 'philosophy' is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society.... To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.” - Gore Vidal

Why do you think Ayn Rand has had such resonance with U.S. society, particularly its policy makers and members of the clergy? Please explain your answer.

“Ayn Rand's 'philosophy' is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society.... To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.”

  • Gore Vidal

Comments
No. 1-13
Adagio4639
Adagio4639

Paul Ryan claims to have rejected Ayn Rand’s atheism. He claims that when he found out later in life that her philosophy was an "atheist philosophy" he rejected her in favor of St. Thomas Aquinas. Ayn Rand's philosophy is rooted in the concept of strident individualism. She wrote a book titled The Virtue of Selfishness in which she claims that any thought of self-sacrifice was abhorrent and should be purged from our being. Self-Interest was at the core of everything she was about. She addressed it in every page of dialogue in her books. No one can lay claim to the work of another.

Ryan claims to be a Catholic, and as a solid Catholic, I'm sure he accepts the fact of the canonization of Aquinas. He certainly claims to follow his teachings. He named Aquinas specifically as his inspiration. Catholics pray to Saints. Aquinas is high on Ryan’s list of all-time great Saints.

In the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, "Man should not consider his material possessions his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need." ~ Thomas Aquinas

I would like for Paul Ryan to square this position with the conservatives that buy his BS and have every right to think that this is contrary to what they've been led to believe about him. It appears that he's literally hosing them for political gain. To go from Ayn Rand to St. Thomas Aquinas is quite a shift in position. So...Mr. Ryan, I don't think you can cherry pick what you like about a Saint and what you don't and still claim to be a Catholic. You claim to accept the teachings of a designated Saint by your own church. You either accept the teachings of Aquinas as you claim, including the quote above...OR you don't. If you don’t, then obviously you are rejecting the teachings of the Saint you claim to draw your inspiration from. If you do, then you are accepting the teachings of altruism that are poison to Rand’s philosophy and is likely to upset the conservatives that support that view. So where exactly do you stand, with Rand or with Aquinas? If it's Rand, it's unbridled Self-interest. A Virtue of Selfishness. If it's Aquinas its Self-sacrificing altruism. We just want to know where you stand.

ruthandco
ruthandco

Rand herself was a child during the Bolshevik revolution and watched her middle class family lose everything and become destitute, so she at least had an excuse. For her followers, however, my best theory is that "Objectivism" is a philosophy perfectly suited for the emotional development of an adolescent. I think most of these people are stuck at this incredibly selfish and narcissistic level.

Fernandov
Fernandov

@mlw...great comments my head spins at the reversal of the incremental and patchwork "progress" such as it is. Perhaps not reversal so much as the exposing of the systemic and institutional coup by the Captains of industry and other kleptocrats. The brazenness is breathtaking, the American electorate I useless... I despair, I truly do at times. My hope is that the backlash against the "conservative" backlash that came to fruition with the election of Reagan is as strong. I marvel at the cynicism... I remember seeing coverage of candidate Reagan giving a speech on states rights not more than 30 miles, not more than 15 years removed from the national shame at Philadelphia, Mississippi.The Democrats? Phffft!

Clifton5
Clifton5

@conversation MLW: Where do you get your emoprogressive bullshit from, may I ask?

Some facts about the Obama presidency's accomplishments you've been willingly ignorant of for whatever left-wing extremist emoprogressive reason:

Also, this:

DidoCarthage
DidoCarthage

@MLW - love the term "Weimar Democrats"