Growing Up Objectivist

Apr 11 2011 @ 9:40am

Alyssa Bereznak revisits her father's obsession with Ayn Rand and how it didn't make for the best parenting:

What is objectivism? If you'd asked me that question as a child, I could have trotted to the foyer of my father's home and referenced a framed quote by Rand that hung there like a cross. It read: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." As a little kid I interpreted this to mean: Love yourself. Nowadays, Rand's bit is best summed up by the rapper Drake, who sang: "Imma do me."

Noah Kristula-Green compares objectivism to scientology:

From my own knowledge of the world of Objectivism, it occurred to me that the materials that Bereznak’s father was using to sustain her Objectivist education might not have come cheap. You can end up paying $150 for some of the CD lecture series or $60 for a lecture titled “Friendship: Who Needs It”. (Other items can be browsed at the Ayn Rand Bookstore.) As for the “Objectivist Summer Conferences” that the piece mentions, those will cost you around $600.

But obviously, objectivism is not a cultish scam like scientology. It has the appeal of all totalist systems in which the inevitable conflicts of being a socialized human are simply wished away. As a bracing antidote to leftist collectivism, it has its points. As a worldview, it has always struck me as making the most sense to someone who is 13 years' old.

To remain an unalloyed objectivist for one's entire life is really, it seems to me, a form of arrested development.