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 (16)
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Yossarian Johnson
Yossarian Johnson

Editor

My guess is because it gives a philosophical framework to extol greed, something that Christianity isn't supposed to do.

Timstatstock
Timstatstock

I think her philosophy provides an answer and justification to greed and disregard. There's also a significant portion of the population that intuitively can't fathom social welfare (even if they've received it or are poor and without prospect themselves) and this gives them an opportunity to sanctify greed and selfishness.

JohnZambis
JohnZambis

Editor

"There's also a significant portion of the population that intuitively can't fathom social welfare (even if they've received it or are poor and without prospect themselves..."

I find this lack of self-awareness really frightening. It seems really common.

walter77777
walter77777

Vidal is, of course, correct. The true problem with rand's extolling of selfishness is that in the long run revolutions are stimulated by governments who do not care for the lower classes, notably the Working Class Proletariat.

Dug
Dug

"Greed and egotism" describe Rand's villains like Peter Keating and Jim Taggart, not her heros like Howard Roark or John Galt. It's not like Vidal was slightly wrong, but rather completely backwards. If I guess whether such a statement comes from ignorance or dishonesty, I guess dishonesty.



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