Today on the show: Objecting to Objectivism

So last month, while preparing for a show on “Foolish Atheists,” I suggested three groups associated with atheism that might fit the bill: Communists, Raelians, and Objectivists. Nobody was interested in sticking up for Communists or Raelians, but we did get some email about criticizing Objectivism, both pro and con. So what good is having an atheist show if you can’t step on a few toes?

I’m personally critical of the libertarian thought that comes from Ayn Rand, but since my political beliefs aren’t the issue here, I’m going to try to stay away from that topic as much as I can manage. Instead, I want to focus on the weird cult-like status that Rand attained, and some oddities about her philosophy that make “Objectivism” seem not so objective.

Here come some links (check this post right before the show because I may add more):

  • Wikipedia article on Objectivism
  • Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature, a blog critical of Ayn Rand
    • A post from the above about “Second-Handers“. The comments section is especially amusing due to the fact that one of the Objectivist commenters attacks the author by saying “From the content of this blog alone I judge that you are a second-hander, a parasite on Ayn Rand, and to buy your book would be to enable that” – thereby providing an unwitting demonstration of the term “second-hander” as a well poisoning technique.
  • Alice in Wonderland: A critique of Ayn Rand from a Libertarian perspective
  • The Unlikeliest Cult In History by weird beliefs investigator Michael Shermer
  • Just for fun, here’s tvtropes.org explaining just which cliches are scattered throughout Atlas Shrugged. I’ll discuss a few of my favorites: “Mary Sue” (both Dagny Taggart and John Galt filling the role as idealized stand-ins for the author); “Author Filibuster” (56 pages worth of uninterrupted prosyletizing!) and “Anvilicious.”
  • Today’s musical selection is from “2112” by Rush. Neil Peart has stated that the concept album was inspired Ayn Rand’s book, Anthem.