Friday, February 12, 2010

Why is Ayn Rand Copyrighted?

It is extremely frustrating when you come across a truly great essay, one that devastatingly withers the conceits of the collectivist, the statist, the parasite, and the pseudo-intellectual only to learn that its use is restricted.

Why is Ayn Rand copyrighted?  That is like Aristotle or Plato being copyrighted.  For those who have not read her smaller, more digestible, more accessible works, such as her essays in the collection The Voice of Reason, there really is no substitute for her lucidity, her incisive insight, and the irresistible force of her logic.

The best I have to offer to anyone who wants to know why intellectuals in America tend to be so philosophically and morally bankrupt, I highly recommend, "Altruism as Appeasement," the sixth essay in the Voice collection. [Another excellent resource with a similar theme is Dr. Thomas Sowell's Intellectuals and Society, also available in audio format.] Rand's essay summarizes my frustration and disappointment with "intellectuals" since I first was naive enough to think that most of them cared about knowledge and truth, and that the thing that they value above all in this world is the development of their minds.  Ayn Rand crushes this illusion once and for all, and reconstructs the pieces to form an image of the modern pseudo-intellectual as a man without the moral fortitude to stand up to the collectivist herd and inform them that their mystical subjectivist theories rest on feet of clay.  And perhaps that is putting it too kindly - feet of sand might be more apropos.

The central thrust of "Altruism as Appeasement" is the sketch of the burgeoning intellectual who seeks out camaraderie in academia only to find that the majority of students and even professors have compromised the integrity of their own minds long ago in the interest of turning education into a social bonding exercise.  The depiction of the elitist as a fearful snob quavering in his boots at the suggestion of an uprising of the unwashed masses is not to be missed.  It explains the elitist's twisted view of his fellow man, and his inner craving for government as a sprawling Kraken, whose tentacles hold down the millions of mental Liliputians lest they debauch the entire social order in an orgy of aimless violence and excess.

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