Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ayn Rand's Staggering Mental Efficacy

If people basically have a clue - I'm leaving out many academics in the Humanities - they can, in principle, recognize the astounding level of unit-economy and clarity in Ayn Rand's writing style. Not only is it clear; it also condenses vast bodies of observations into fundamental principles. She did this without having to write ponderous tomes exploring impractical minutiae in order to impress some small specialized cluster of academics.

Take such examples of hard-hitting writing as "The Objectivist Ethics," "Man's Rights," and "The Nature of Government," all available at the ARI website. There is nothing inessential; the presentation is compact; they say all they need to say for their purposes, no more and no less.

Rand's unique ability to essentialize philosophical principles in compact, popularly-accessible, commonsensical, unit-economizing form is - get this! - the basis on which the academic snobs dismiss Rand as "simplistic," "shallow," "unsophisticated," "demagogic," etc. I don't know what more you need to know about the academic culture in the Humanities, when a genuine intellectual virtue is invoked as a basis for dismissal. The sources of such criticism are so clueless and so out of it that the damage they cause to clear thinking is untold. (Giving these specimens less of the benefit of the doubt, the criticisms are most likely politically-motivated. Truly pathetic, reprehensible, discreditable, etc.) I understand why some people have reservations about bringing children into a world such as it is today - especially if that involves sending tens of thousands of dollars a year for four years to centers of higher learning where these spiritual butchers perform intellectual lobotomies and churn out the sort of cynical, anti-capitalism, anti-America, nihilistic little shits - little copies of themselves - that you find on such places as and DailyKos. (Just observe a typical discussion thread about Ayn Rand in such environments. These "liberally-educated" little shits are so pathetically ignorant, bigoted, and cognitively stunted that it serves as indisputable proof they've been conditioned to think like shit. Come the Revolution, most everyone will find this phenomenon as eye-opening and horrifying as I do. Fucking Comprachicos! Sonsabitches! You'll all be cheering these sentiments in time, mark my words.)

Did I mention that Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology is the most important philosophical work of the 20th century? It sure beats the hell out of Rawls's A Theory of Justice. For proof, check out Rand's reduction of the concept "justice" in ITOE, then compare to the floating, hierarchy-disregarding mess that is Rawls's book.

And, hell, it was only an introduction. It could hardly compare to spending thousands of hours in conversation with Mrs. Logic herself - experiences which have blown away all those who came into close contact with her.* Even as academically-trained "mainstream" philosophers go, just check out the testimony from John Hospers about his extensive interaction with Rand. Blown. Away. He'll tell you all about Rand's unparalleled ability to reduce issues to their essentials - i.e., to apply the Rule of Fundamentality to any question.

Just RTFM and learn a thing or two, people. Start with the essays at ARI linked above and pay careful attention as you read, so as to get a clue as to what she is accomplishing in such a short space. The terms and concepts involved all have objectively-defined roots and interconnections within the cognitive hierarchy. Check out the online Ayn Rand Lexicon, or my list of essential writings. Repeat as necessary.

(* - The testimonies are much like those about Stanley Kubrick. Among famous 20th-century figures, Kubrick's thought processes resemble Rand's more closely than any others I know of. He was not only a libertarian [A Clockwork Orange] and a eudaemonist [2001], his basic method was holistic, reality-based integration of all relevant and essential elements; he was, in short, a perfectionist.)

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