Månadsarkiv: april 2014

Från Jamaica till USA jämte en intellektuell resa med Ayn Rand

Något förvånande publicerade nyligen den vänsterinriktade sajten Salon en intressant artikel av filosofidocenten Jason D Hill om hur han som homosexuell och ateist i ett djupt religiöst och homofobiskt Jamaica lyckades skaffa sig en ny framtid i USA och hur Ayn Rands filosofi gav honom en intellektuell rustning. Utdrag:

”Much of Rand’s work, I said, was about the moral status of the individual human soul in an age of mediocrity. What turned individuals away from Ayn Rand was not her atheism, not her defense of laissez-faire capitalism or even her rational demolition of altruism. It was something more visceral. It was their complicity in the destruction of the noblest and most idealistic sense of life that lay within their own souls. Somewhere along the way they told themselves that they had grown up. What they had done, though, tragically, was to annihilate the capacity to hold steadily to a vision of life’s better possibilities and their ability to be the chief engines of change within their own lives.

They had become disillusioned with life largely because they had bought into a cult of appeasement that seduced them into accepting the false idea that to get ahead required compromises, while Rand advocated an unbreachable commitment to one’s values and an equal commitment to the morally unimpeachable character that is required to uphold and preserve such values.

People think of Ayn Rand, I am convinced, 30 years after encountering and studying her philosophy and after deeply observing her detractors, and they feel retrospective shame and guilt over abandoning their idealistic selves — the sense of immeasurable benevolence and optimism they had known at 16 and irrevocably lost, a loss that cost them their vitality and a purpose for living on earth. Celebrating exaltation, heroism and achievement they had learned to sacrifice the best within themselves for a non-recuperable price. Once you you’ve sold your soul, it is no longer yours. You cannot recover it. In enshrining mediocrity such individuals had alienated themselves further from their deepest potential.

Ayn Rand, I submitted, was the penultimate scapegoat of our age who was routinely hated for her stylized creation of a wondrous universe in an age where too many people were polluting it with their unbridled vulgarity and mindless narcissism.

In one sense, she was the quintessential American novelist and thinker. She advocated self-reliance, rugged individualism, limited government, American optimism and benevolence and the can-do-attitude that is the unprecedented hallmark of American exceptionality. On the other hand — and this is part of why she is resented by many so-called progressives and conservatives alike — her philosophical sensibilities are truly outside the mainstream of Anglo-American analytic philosophy. At heart, she represented an aristocracy of the soul and of the mind, a perceived elitism by some; however, if that catchphrase has any conceptual resonance — it was an elitism to which all were invited provided they were willing to do the consistent thinking that will always be required of anyone who wishes to live as a human being.”

Läs även i sammanhanget Joseph Rowlands artikel Selfish Altruism, som jag länkat till här tidigare.