Rand doesn’t follow the conventional standards of logic. She has her own distinctive method of arguing. If that method is valid, her moral and political philosophy stands. If it is invalid, her whole system comes crashing down.
What is her method and is it valid?...
Rand’s distinctive method to answering many philosophical questions is to ask what knowledge is already presumed by the very terms in the question.
You say, “Miss Rand, I want to argue with you about the proper role of government.” She replies, in effect, “OK, but let us first unpack the concepts you are using. What are you already assuming by using the words ‘proper’ and ‘government’?” If you think of a government as the owner of buildings where you fill out forms and “proper” as whatever avoids your mother’s wrath, then Rand will insist that the two of you first work out a mature and essentialized understanding of these concepts.
In other words, Rand seeks to answer very complex philosophical questions via an explication of the meanings of words. Is this an effective way to answer moral questions? Is it an effective way to determine matters of fact?
Now it could be argued that Rand's method, while not very useful for determining matters of fact, might on the other hand yield fruit in moral questions, such as the proper role of government. Yet even if that were true, it would still not get Rand where she wanted to go. For a question such as the "proper" role of government cannot be answered solely on moral grounds. Whatever moral answers may be derived from Rand's nonconventional standards of logic, at some point they would inevitably touch upon matters of fact. The issue of the proper role of government, for example, cannot be decided without first examining whether the role envisioned is something that is plausibly achieved in the real world. There would be no point in advocating for a role that no real government would ever take up. But determining this question of realizability would require knowledge of human nature and of human society, and these are very much matters of fact, not of morals, and cannot be understood via Rand's unconventional methods of logic and verbalistic definition mongering.
Objectivism has been trying to inflict its vision of the "proper" role of government on the rest of us for over sixty years. How much progress has Objectivism made in achieving this goal? Virtually none. So what does that say about the realizability of the goal in question?