The Fall 2006 Journal of Ayn Rand Studies commences with an article entitled "Demystifying Emotion: Introducing the Affect Theory of Silvan Tomkins to Objectivists" by Steven Shmurak. The article begins by acknowledging that Rand's view of emotions "fails to make sense o fthe totality of our emotional lives." Shmurak then introduces Tomkins' theory as possible alternative. Although he doesn't say so outright, Shmurak appears to be suggesting that if we were to "update" Rand's theory of emotions by replacing it with Tomkins' that would serve to strengthen the Objectivist position. But this suggestion assumes that the primary aim of Rand's theory is to provide a realistic explanation of human emotions. What if this assumption is false? What if the primary aim of Rand's theory is simply to prove that emotions can be entirely subjected to "reason"? After all, Rand's political, social, and psychological ideals would all be seriously jeopardized if emotions could not be entirely controlled by "reason." Hence my suspicion that Rand's theory of emotion is a little more than a formalized rationalization of a much deeper pathology in Rand--namely, her desire to subject every aspect of human existence to conscious "reasoned" thought, so that nothing is ever left to chance and the human being can be regarded as responsible for everything about himself.
This viewpoint, which Rand clung to with passionate obstinacy, is the fountainhead of nearly everything that is wrong with Rand's philosophy. It amounts to a kind of idealism. Just as ordinary idealists believe that their minds create and populate the natural world, so Rand, in effect, believes that the mind creates the psychological world--man's very self--out of its own ideas (or "basic premises").