Do you find it difficult to talk to serious Ayn Rand fans, called “Objectivists”? Maybe something Rand wrote explains why.
Here Rand describes the qualities an Objectivist should bring to bear and the type of conversation they are having: “Drop the… ‘open mind’”, she counsels. “An active mind… reaches firm convictions and holds to them…. an active mind achieves an unassailable certainty in confrontations with assailants- a certainty untainted by spots of blind faith, approximation, evasion and fear… . you will learn to recognize at a glance a given theory’s stand… and to reject the attacks without lengthy considerationi.”
The conversation is not a learning opportunity for the Objectivist, for whom she predicts “every challenge you examine will strengthen your convictions”ii and “your ideological enemies will make you invulnerable by providing countless demonstrations of their own impotence.”iii
Rand warns her fans about you. You are an assailant. You are the enemy. You are attacking them, but they are invulnerable; for you are impotent and they hold their firm convictions. Their certainty is untainted. Their goal is to reject your challenge, to not examine your position beyond what it takes to identify it. She reassures them that they are without fear. When the confrontation is over, they expect to be more convinced they are right than when they started.
If that description differs from the conversation you thought you were having, perhaps that is one reason for the difficulty.
i Pg 21, ch 2, Philosophy, Who Needs It? By Ayn Rand. Signet edition, Penguin Books 1984
ii Pg 21 ibid
iii Pg 22 ibid