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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and civil, but doesn't make the case, April 11, 2012
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This review is from: Why Ayn Rand Is Wrong (and Why It Matters) (Kindle Edition)
Being an interesting critique of Ayn Rand's philosophy, by a gentleman who clearly enjoys playing in the epistemological sandbox.

For the record, I'm neither Objectivist or altruist; although my sympathies tend towards the former, imho Rand's anarcho-capitalist Utopia ultimately fails for the same reason Marx's anarcho-collectivist version did: it doesn't fit human beings. Asher touches on a few of the reasons why in this essay (and misses a few), but his main thrust seems to be that Rand's central principle of egoism is simply wrong. He makes several good points - along with a number of rather weak ones - but ultimately his own arguments point toward a theory of egoism that is incomplete, rather than invalid. There's nothing at all wrong with this; only hardcore Randroids assert that there is no room for improvement in Objectivism. It's rather disappointing, therefore, that Asher didn't even try to go in that direction, preferring instead an unsuccessful attempt to refute egoism altogether.

Asher does deserve a great deal of credit in one regard: penning a critique of Rand that is cool, calm, and respectful. This may make Asher's essay unique in its category; every other work of this sort I've encountered has been a frothing-at-the-mouth ad hominem rage-fest. Asher's essay, flawed as it is, actually adds to the discussion, and so is worth reading. Three stars for the content, plus one for the unexpected civility.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 12, 2013 11:39:50 AM PST
Bobby33x says:
Well, nobody's perfect, not even Ayn Rand. But her belief in Individualism and Liberty are far closer to the mark than anything the Left believes in. I've never heard of a society that values the individual murdering millions or even thousands of people. Whereas, those societies that put greater value on the "collective" vs. the Individual have routinely murdered millions and even 10s of millions. What's truly amazing is the number of apologists there are in the so-called "intellectual" classes for the ideas of collectivism.

Posted on Jan 22, 2013 12:10:58 PM PST
JD Kolassa says:
Um, Ayn Rand wasn't an anarcho-capitalist. Murray Rothbard was, and he criticized Ayn Rand because she wasn't an anarchist. Indeed, Objectivism actually has a role for government in society--to protect individual rights and solve disputes. While there are a few Objectivists whose reason has led them to the point of being "Objectivist anarchists," they are vanishingly few. The vast majority of Objectivists would be better described as "minarchists," advocating a small government with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and restrictions, rather than either the shibboleth we have today or the stateless market that Murray Rothbard fantasized over.

Just a quibble.

Posted on Jan 31, 2013 11:29:45 AM PST
Bobby33x says:
Rich, isn't saying "anarcho-collectivist" a little like saying "jumbo-shrimp?"

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2013 7:23:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2013 7:27:16 PM PST
Rich H. says:
-- Rich, isn't saying "anarcho-collectivist" a little like saying "jumbo-shrimp?"

It depends on who you're talking to. Marx's ideal society was both classless and stateless; everyone working together for the common good, no government necessary. As Rand so dramatically illustrated, however, and history later affirmed, it never works out that way in practice.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2013 7:25:25 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2013 7:27:58 PM PST
Rich H. says:
-- The vast majority of Objectivists would be better described as "minarchists"...

Point taken, which only adds to the irony of Rand's intense hatred for libertarians.
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