Few thinkers have done as much to accelerate the degeneration of morals of Western society as Ayn Rand, the Russian-born reactionary who fled the wonders of the USSR for the depraved capitalist ways of America, which she so zealously lionized in her most famous works of libertarian agitprop, The Fountainhead, and the notoriously wretched Atlas Shrugged.
Rand spent a lifetime leisurely flirting with the intellectual rigor of philosophy while loyally consummating a passionate relationship with a particularly cynical variety of inflammatory polemics, two unfortunate character traits which undoubtedly played a prominent role in the elaboration of her pseudo-philosophical theory of Objectivism; a reliable theme of laughter in academic circles, and a frequent target of derision until its ideas infiltrated some obscure sections of society, especially in America, in the latter half of the 20th century.
Ayn Rand in many ways defined the more sordid side of the ideological radicalism of the age, naturally becoming the worshiped idol in the rooms of numerically insignificant but annoyingly vocal university libertarians, the ultimate reactionaries of late. A class of people whose subversive egoism poses the greatest threat to Western civilization, in light of how it was the prevalence of Randian laissez-faire ideology in the American financial system, as symbolized by the influence of the likes of Alan Greenspan in the trade, which spawned the Great Recession.
It is a life riddled with contradictions, which were to be revealing of the almost supernatural depravity of the entirety of her morally questionable, to put it euphemistically, character. Rand came into the world already enjoying the perks of a bourgeois life in Czarist Russia, a privilege granted by the blindly generous hand of fate, as is and always was the case with countless other philosophically bankrupt captives of the Capitalist deception of a freedom that can be bought and sold.From an early age the pseudo-philosopher displayed a conviction to espouse ideas and behaviors vastly dissimilar to the prevailing mores of the society she inhabited; In her recollections Rand stated that it was in high school that she arrived at her fiercely assertive atheism, a take on metaphysics which would have horrified most of her compatriots at the time, people of modest faith who humbly adhered to the Orthodox creed.
At Petrograd State University, where Rand pursued higher education (ironically thanks only to social reforms implemented by the Communist government she later in life threw under the bus with gusto), she developed an interest in the thought of Aristotle and Plato, but inevitably as was always the case with Rand throughout her miserable wanderings on this world, her more unpalatable behavioral traits had the best of her so she ended up a diligent admirer of the soulless pitiful nihilistic vitriol of Nietzsche. This affinity towards Nietzsche proved to be ephemeral, as she later in life seemed to have recanted her former liking of his ideas. Not that this change of pace proved to be some sort of much needed conversion on the road to Damascus, which finally endowed Ayn Rand with characteristics which would have made her resemble a human being with concepts of empathy and the such, far from it, for the rest of her life was dedicated to upholding egoistical self-interest as an ideal guiding ethical principle.
Ayn Rand’s place in history is not so much determined by her so-called contributions to philosophy, these being essentially new and innovative ways of asserting that brutal social Darwinism is the only game in town by virtue of its “realistic” take on human relationships, but by how the personal devotion of her intimate group of followers, and of those few easily-impressioned fans she accumulated over time, culminated in the relative normalization of her ideas. The philosophy that, contrary to the innate instincts and inclinations of humankind, the individual should purge the humanity out of him for the sake of a distorted sense of “reason” and “objectivity”. This is a rather distasteful worldview to go around publicizing, no doubt, but Ayn Rand benefited from a posthumous PR makeover, and now her ideas enjoy a significant degree of popularity particularly with US conservatives, who assiduously manipulate the levers of power to impose this vision on the people, through a variety of clean-sounding reforms in the name of “small government” and “personal freedom”. And this is truly, a portrait of disgrace.