Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Objectivist Round-up, September 2022

1. Who the Hell is Ayn Rand? was recently published by Simon Lemieux. It’s a volume in a new series that provides brief introductions to ancient and contemporary thinkers. It’s a good overview of Rand’s life and philosophy from a somewhat left-wing perspective. I hope to review it in a week or two.

2. Ayn Rand Fan Club interviewed Michael Stuart Kelly of the Objectivist Living website. I enjoyed the discussion of his friendship with Barbara Branden, his involvement in The PARC Wars, and the rise and fall of Objectivist forums.

3. Chris Sciabarra just announced that the final issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies will come out in 2023. JARS published numerous significant articles on Rand and related issues. Chris also published two important essays on Rand’s college transcripts based on archival research. I will always be grateful to Chris for printing three book reviews I wrote. JARS was first published in 1999.


gregnyquist said...

Does the end of JARS signify that interest in Rand and Objectivism is on the wane? We don't have any hard data on this, and of course the end of JARS could be merely that Chris Sciabarra has tired of being its editor. But even so, why isn't there someone to fill Sciabarra's shoes and keep the journal going? No such person exists --- which tells us what? I would suggest that the end of JARS indicates, not so much a waning of interest in Rand, but quite possibly a waning of interest in the philosophy of Objectivism. Let's face it: Objectivism nowadas comes off as hopelessly out-dated. Rand's blank slate philosophy is so 1950s. It's hard to take such a view seriously after the rise of the evolutionary psychology of Pinker and the social psychology of Jonathan Haidt. But Rand's novels, particularly Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, still get read and still have their fans. But most of these fans prefer to ignore the finer philosophical points in these books, because they just don't have much relevance any more.

Anonymous said...

I think Rand did her mature thinking in the 50s during the high tide of behaviorism and after WW II when the idea of a biological basis for behavior understandably got a bad name.

Albionic American said...

Objectivists are also doubling down on empirically false views of human behavior. Notice that they don't talk about how tribally-oriented people can flourish as entrepreneurs and capitalists, like the South Asian immigrants in the United States who own and run hotels and other businesses. These people are still generally religious, family-oriented and endogamous (apparently for caste reasons); they aren't living at all like Rand's fantasy of atheistic atomized individualists.

Albionic American said...

Organized Objectivism would have gone away by now if it hadn't been kept in business artificially thanks to subsidies from some wealthy Rand obsessives. Also Rand's novels are not as authentically popular as her fans claim, considering that the Ayn Rand Institute has bought and given away over 4 million copies of her works as part of its essay-writing contests. It's like Directive 10-289 in Atlas Shrugged established a combined Balph Eubank/Simon Pritchett Institute to keep Eubank's unwanted novels in print and forcing young people to read them, and reinforced by indoctrinating them with Pritchett's bad philosophy.