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Elizabeth Wagele

Ayn Rand, Rebellious One

Who was this austere, idealistic intellectual?

E. Wagele photo
Source: E. Wagele photo

Outspoken, controversial writer and philosopher Ayn Rand was born in 1905 in Russia and died in 1982 in New York. In the MBTIR, she’s an INTJ (introvert, intuitive, thinking, judging); and a One-Perfectionist/Reformer in the Enneagram. One reason many Libertarians like her is that she favored less government.

In an interview by Phil Donahue, Rand said do-gooders shouldn’t put others above themselves. She didn’t like people to sacrifice if it meant giving up an important value for one of lesser value, for example passing up a friend in order to help an enemy. She was against the government favoring disabled kids over gifted ones.

Rand’s philosophy was called Objectivism. She rejected faith and religion, supported laissez-faire capitalism, defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, and in art she promoted romantic realism. She was critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and classical liberals.

According to Wikipedia, Rand believed European colonists had the right to develop land taken from American Indians, and called homosexuality "immoral" and "disgusting", while also advocating the repeal of all laws about it. She endorsed several Republican candidates for President of the United States, most strongly Barry Goldwater in 1964.

Quotes from people who knew her:

“What others, out of pity or conventional good manners or fear, preferred not to name, Ayn named."

“This severely austere intellectual took enormous pleasure in being called 'Fluff.' The woman who… felt as if she were a brain encased in flesh seemed never to feel more womanly than when addressed by her pet name."

"[Her work] is both angry and exaltedly idealistic, a tortured hymn to integrity. In it one sees the union of passionate idealism with a profound scorn for those who… renounce the responsibility of translating their ideals into action and reality." - Barbara Branden

Quotes from Rand:

"Ever since Hume and Kant ... philosophy has been striving to prove that man's mind is impotent. ... [That is] treason."

"There is no such entity as 'the tribe' or 'the public'; they’re only a number of individual men."

"Love is not self-sacrifice, but the assertion of your own needs and values. It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love."

“Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”

“There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.”

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

Enneagram writer Clarence Thomson’s views on Rand:

“A sociopath is a person who has no moral compass, no power of empathy to feel with or for others. Moral right and wrong are simply categories they don't access and probably can't. Ayn Rand wrote several books that are bedside reading for some powerful men in Washington. Alan Greenspan sat at her feet and absorbed her philosophy and Judge Clarence Thomas loves her work so much he requires his clerks to read it.

“Her philosophy is a distorted derivative of Neitsche's Superman ideas, but it is filtered through her Enneagram style. Ones derive their morality from internal principles. Ones live by inner rules they consider binding on everyone. Rand's philosophy is an elaboration of [the unhealthy One] Enneagram style. Her heroes and "philsophy" spelled out the bleak, heartless inner life of a sociopath.”

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