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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

In defence of Ayn Rand

I am certainly not an Objectivist, though it would be fair to say I have been influenced by Ayn Rand’s works. For me, the conjectural objective epistemology of Karl Popper makes more sense, but I am also of the view that Rand is not without her merits.

Thus when I saw Tech pundit Andrew Orlowski writing in an article in The Register that Ayn Rand was a crypto-fascist, that was not something I could leave unchallenged. I must confess I have never been a great fan of Andrew Orlowski, as he also writes for New Statesman, a publication that the excellent Will Quick of DailyPundit described exquisitely as “a haven of fluorescent idiocy”.

I e-mailed Orlowski as follows:

Sir,

I would have assumed that, given your well known statist beliefs, you would have known what the word ‘fascist’ actually means. It would seem not. But let me guess… you take the Chomsky line on language and my attempt to impose coherent meaning on a word is just evidence of my desire to oppress you. Yeah, that must be it.

Had you indicated Rand’s ideas were not entirely rational, then certainly you would have made a valid point. Her non-conjectural objective epistemology does have its weaknesses, but fascist? Ludicrous. Fascism is a form of nationalist collectivism, a socialist offshoot, and which part of Rand’s ideology have you identified as collectivist? Or have you identified some form of fascism I was previously unaware of that is not in fact collectivist? Some sort of ‘individualist fascism’? That would certainly be a fascinating concept: mass rallies of one at Nuremburg perhaps?

Fascist economics involve national control (but not necessarily nominal ownership) of the means of production in the service of (ethnic) national objectives… can you point me at the remarks in Rand’s works where she advocates that?

Clearly you do not know what you are talking about and thus I am disinclined to believe anything else you write.

By your own words you are revealed, sir.

Perry de Havilland …-

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