Although Rand was especially sensitive to any criticism which, in her opinion, distorted her own views, she showed no such sensitivity when it came to distorting the views of ideologies and philosophies she didn’t care for. Prima facie, one might have thought that an advocate of objectivity and egoism would wish to reassure people that selfishness was not merely
the Golden Rule turned upside down, in which one expects to be treated better than one treats others. But no, Rand was apparently too self-absorbed, too narcissistic to even notice she was reinforcing the very stereotypes about egoism and selfishness that she had so strenuously denied in her ethical rationalizations.
The first accusation she levels against conservatives is a moral one. She denounces conservatives for refusing to own up that their goal is freedom.
What is the moral stature of those who are afraid to proclaim that they are the champions of freedom? What is the integrity of those who outdo their enemies in smearing, misrepresenting, spitting at, and apologizing for their own ideal? What is the rationality of those who expect to trick people into freedom, cheat them into justice, fool them into progress, con them into preserving their rights, and, while indoctrinating them with statism, put one over on them and let them wake up in a perfect capitalist society some morning?
These are the “conservatives”—or most of their intellectual spokesmen.
Since Rand does not give any examples, it is difficult to figure out what on earth she is talking about. In any case, the contention that “most” conservative intellectuals are guilty of “apologizing for their own ideal” and attempting to “trick people into freedom” is grossly implausible. Wherever we find Rand failing to provide evidence for some controversial and implausible assertion, there’s usually a very good reason—namely, because she doesn’t have any evidence to provide. She’s merely making stuff up (no doubt unconsciously) to fit a particular ideological narrative which she wishes to promote.
Rand next turns her attention to her favorite political argument, that is to say, her contention that capitalism requires a “moral base.” It is this contention, and the criticism of conservatism that Rand infers from it, that will be the subject of my next “Objectivism and Politics” post.