While looking through the Ayn Rand Myths website yesterday I discovered an interesting myth about Ayn Rand, mainly that she was a Libertarian. The site debunks this myth with the following passage from “Philosophy Who Needs It”:
She wrote: “. . . do not join the wrong ideological groups or movements, in order to “do something.” By “ideological” (in this context), I mean groups or movements proclaiming some vaguely generalized, undefined (and, usually, contradictory) political goals. (E.g., the Conservative Party, which subordinates reason to faith, and substitutes theocracy for capitalism; or the “libertarian” hippies, who subordinate reason to whims, and substitute anarchism for capitalism.) To join such groups means to reverse the philosophical hierarchy and to sell out fundamental principles for the sake of some superficial political action which is bound to fail. It means that you help the defeat of your ideas and the victory of your enemies. (For a discussion of the reasons, see “The Anatomy of Compromise” in my book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.)”
“What Can One Do?” Philosophy Who Needs It, 248; paperback 202.
I had actually read Philosophy Who Needs It but somehow missed this quote the first time around. I confirmed the reference on my electronic Kindle version, and sure enough the reference was accurate, but not highlighted, I must have glossed over it 🙂
Usually I have equated Libertarians with anyone who was not in alignment with the established parties dominated by the moralities of state or religion. I viewed Libertarians as a sort of catch all category for those who believed in free thought. Reviewing this quote from Ayn Rand I now suspect this assumption is incorrect.
So, what are the differences between Libertarianism and Objectivism? I know from my studies of Objectivism that there is an emphasis on laissez-faire capitalism and man’s survival by means of an independent mind through reason. Obviously there is much, much more to Objectivism, but that is the top line vibe that I get through my readings of Objectivist texts thus far. Are Libertarians simply the non-capitalist equivalents of Objectivists?
This is a subject I would like to learn a little more about. If anyone stumbles upon this article I would be interested in your insight if you have an opinion on the matter.
1. Ayn Rand. Philosophy Who Needs It:
2. Ayn Rand Myths. Myth #10: She Was A Libertarian: http://www.aynrandmyths.com/#10