Ayn Rand and Objectivism (continued)
However, I believe Rand and her radical libertarian adherents fall into the very same trap that their opponents do: their inability to recognize the political situation that we inherit at birth. That is, we must share the planet with myriad others of our species. Whether we like that or not, that is the reality of our situation.
Those who are born with high degrees of intelligence and/or talents; as well as good character traits, such as industriousness, self-discipline and self-control, etc., naturally advocate and flourish within the type of society that Rand championed. However, the vastly larger number of people not so blessed in terms of natural endowments have another view. If the former group controls a vastly disproportionate amount of material riches—even if earned personally rather than inherited—then inevitably resentment and hostility results. Since such people vastly outnumber the, for example, Bill Gateses of this world, the rich live in a constant state of anxiety, remembering past revolutions such as the one Rand fled from.
In summation of this point, all humans have one thing in common. We tend to favor rules of a game that benefit us personally. That is the reality that I referred to that Rand and her followers failed to recognize and acknowledge, as much as is the case with the socialists she deplored.
This reality is all the more important to recognize in light of Rand’s ontological views. She was a professed atheist, which meant she had many unlikely bedfellows when it came to her politics; many who appreciated her political and economic views, but disdained her atheism. She was most unusual in that respect.
It was Napoleon Bonaparte who cynically observed: “Religion is that virtue that keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” It is my impression that most atheists, however much they might protest to the contrary, are somewhat less than one hundred percent convinced of their own belief—in a very visceral manner. That is, there is always just that little bit of nagging worry that they might be wrong, a la “Pascal’s Wager.”
Vladimir Lenin, however, was not of this ilk. He did not believe in God in exactly the same way he did believe in gravity. He was one of the most analytic people ever to walk the Earth. He, as few atheists and humanists do, clearly—and brutally—saw the ramifications of atheism. Once, he had suppressed an article by Trotsky in Pravda because it had contradicted some tenet of Lenin’s. Trotsky indignantly told Lenin, “I have the right to my opinions.” Lenin replied, “Yes. And I have the right to shoot you for them. Power is all that matters.” Click to continue: