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Old January 2, 2013, 10:32 AM   #11
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Join Date: December 13, 2005
Posts: 3,200
Originally Posted by Tom Servo
Harry Binswanger, protegee of Ayn Rand, has a great article in Forbes in which he dismisses gun control...
Allow me to state my agreement before engaging in dissent.

Binswanger's basic point, that a statistical analysis is not pertinent to an individual right, should be uncontroversial. We would reject on its face as ludicrous an argument that since a K98 or a mosin-nagant had in the past been used largely to perpetrate injustice, that these items should be banned. Yet, this is exactly the structure of the current argument so many of us oppose.

Let me also describe Rand's virtues before moving on to the vices in her ideas; understanding the author's history helps one understand what she describes well. She was a Russian Jew who saw a materially comfortable life her father built destroyed by mobs of the descendents freed by Alexander III. Accordingly, her literature aptly describes the danger of mobs who display poor analytical ability.

Unfortunately, she adopts the metaphysical substrata of the Marxist materialism and appeals to objectivity that destroyed her father's world. This is reflected in Binswanger's writing which is littered with the gratuitous use of the word "objectively". Remove that word from his piece and it loses none of its persuasive force. Indeed, Rand used the word as a talisman to sidestep the epistemological absurdity of her process.

The individualism of Rand is easily distinguishable from the view of individuals of the founding fathers and their view of rights arising from man's nature. Neither is the individualism of Rand reflective of the American sense of individualism as we expanded west; that American individualism featured a vibrant sense of voluntary association, what Rand's camp would call collectivism. Rand's individualism is very much that of a refugee from a mob. As appealing as that sense is in the current climate, it is ultimately corrosive of the social sense that translates individual rights into political force in our system.

I confess that my analysis of Rand is not widely shared in my part of the political spectrum, and that I know many sharp, intelligent, perspicacious people who are enthralled with Rand. However, I echo the caution of Whittaker Chambers who noted a fundamental defect in her philosophy as manifested in her literature.

My two cents, adjusted for inflation.

Last edited by zukiphile; January 2, 2013 at 10:39 AM.
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