If you are talking to a serious Ayn Rand fan (called an Objectivist) and they get angry for no apparent reason, maybe it’s because Ayn Rand called you an evil liar.
She explains to her fans that people can have (A) correct mental concepts which “… may be a product of genius, perceptiveness, ingenuityi” or (B) wrong mental concepts, which “may be a product of stupidity, deception, malice, evil…”.ii
(A) Correct mental concepts, such as Rand’s ethicsiii
- are logically derived from the objective reality we see around usiv, by “observing the differences and similarities of the existents… From a child’s grasp of the simplest concept… to a scientist’s grasp of the most complex abstractionsv.” .
- Everybody applies the same logic to the same reality, so all our concepts must be the same; “even if the scope of his knowledge is modest and the content of his concepts is primitive, it will not contradict the content of the same concepts in the mind of the most advanced scientists.”vi
- It is not possible to disagree, for “a man cannot conceive the opposite of a proposition he knows to be true… vii.
(B) People who contradict Rand have wrong mental concepts, which happen in two ways:
- “… (a) human errors of knowledge or (b) human errors of evil.”viii
- “…only (a) ignorance or (b) evasion can enable a man to attempt to project such an alternative”ix,
- “… (a) he can make innocent errors through lack of knowledge, or (b) he can lie, cheat and fakex”.
(a) If you think you disagree with Rand, Objectivists generously first assume that you are ignorant or stupid. The ignorant are innocent, because “errors of knowledge are not breaches of morality”xi.
(b) If you demonstrate knowledge of the issues and show you are not ignorant, Objectivists realize you agree with Rand, as does everybody from child to scientist; yet you deliberately refuse. You are liars, cheats, fakes and evaders.
- “…if he evades the facts of the issue and struggles not to know, morally, he is as black as they come.xii” .
- “The source of all his evils… not blindness, but the refusal to see. Not ignorance, but the refusal to know.xiii”
- “…rationality is a matter of choice.. the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animalxiv”.
So if an Objectivist gets angry, maybe it’s because you are ignorant and stupid; or you secretly agree with Ayn Rand and deliberately choose to evade reality because you are suicidal; and/or you secretly agree and you are lying because you are evil.
i Philosophy who needs it pg 27. There are three different kinds of concepts in Rand’s philosophy. This essay deals only with the first two types. 1) Concepts about the natural world; 2) subsequent logically derived “man-made” concepts such as justice, capitalism, math, science and Rand’s philosophy; and 3) arbitrary man-made concepts such as national borders or the number of states in the Union.
ii Philosophy who needs it pg 27.
iii Pg 28 Philosophy Who Needs It? The Objcectivist Ethics, The Virtue of Selfishness pg. 14 et al.
iv Pg 62 Philosophy Who Needs It? ch. 7
v Pg 55 Intro to Epist Chpt 5 Definitions.
vi Pg 56 Intro to Epist Chpt 5 Definitions.
vii Piekoff, Analytic/Synthetic Dichotomy pg 157 Intro to Epistemology
viii Rational life in an irrational society? Pg 73 The Virtue of Selfishness
ix Piekoff, Analytic/Synthetic Dichotomy pg 157 Intro to Epistemology
x Pg 27 Philosophy Who Needs It?
xi The cult of moral grayness pg 76 The Virtue of Selfishness
xii The cult of moral grayness pg 76 The Virtue of Selfishness
xiii That’s a really good quote. I can’t find right now. I stand by it.
xiv Objectivist ethics: Pg 23 The Virtue of Selfishness