QUORA *: ‘What appeals to you about Ayn Rand's philosophy?’
I posted this answer:
Quite a lot. But I will identify three main, interrelated things I like about Ayn Rand’s philosophy, listed in ascending order of importance. These are not the only things, but among the most important to me.
Politics: I was first attracted to Ayn Rand when, in browsing through a bookstore with some friends in the 1960s, I happened to pick up a book titled “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” by someone named Ayn Rand. I began reading the Introduction, which contained the phrase “Objectivists are not ‘conservatives.’ We are radicals for capitalism; we are fighting for that philosophical base which capitalism did not have and without which it was doomed to perish.” As a teenager already leaning pro-capitalist, my interest was aroused. Rand identified this “base” in the form of a moral defense of the individual’s inalienable rights to life, liberty, earned property, and the pursuit of happiness: These are the essential Founding principles of America as outlined (or implied) in the Declaration of Independence and which constitute the germinating seeds of capitalism. This individualist philosophy underpins Americanism, which embodies capitalism, because in order for people to live their lives for themselves--that is, in accordance with their own personal values, judgement, and goals--they need the individual freedom and liberty rights promised in the Declaration.
Personal: I subsequently came to realize that Rand’s Objectivism—the name she gave to her philosophy—was much richer than a social/economic system. Objectivism is first and foremost a powerful personal philosophy to live by--a philosophy drawn from the observable facts of human nature. She called Objectivism “a philosophy for living on Earth.” I call it a Philosophy of Life before Death, to clearly distinguish it from my Catholic upbringing. She demonstrates scientifically that, contrary to conventional (and outdated) moral “wisdom,” it’s morally right to live for yourself--an ethics that rejects both altruism and the conventional understanding of “selfishness,” which she proves constitute two predatory sides of the same moral coin. She called her ethical system rational selfishness, and named it the Objectivist Ethics. The Objectivist Ethics tells me I should never feel guilty to proudly uphold my own values, and with equal fervor never demand or expect that others give up theirs for me.
Thinking: She taught me the practical principles of how to think rationally and logically, and apply these principles to real life issues. Thinking properly, and independently, is the first requirement for human beings. Embodied in proper thinking include an understanding of the important roles of our emotions and of our subconscious mechanism, the importance of full context, and integration through principles.
Atlas Shrugged – America's Second Declaration of Independence
Introduction to Objectivism
Philosophy: Who Needs It
The Objectivist ethics
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