AYN RAND AND THE ANARCHISTS: BAKUNIN AND KROPOTKIN


Basically, the philosophy of Ayn Rand -- I am speaking of her "code of ethics", which is the only thing of any interest to anyone -- (certainly not her "epistemology", i.e., hundreds of pages of word-wanking about the "perception of reality", which is something the Objectivists know nothing about ) -- is a mixture of ideas stolen from Bakunin and Kropotkin, two Russian anarchists (both of them much better writers than Ayn Rand) .  

Bakunin, for example (in God and the State), states that "If God exists, then God is Master, Man is a slave".  Therefore, he implies, God does not exist!

(What kind of logic is that? It seems to me that if God exists -- however you define that nebulous term--  then His existence is a simple fact of life, to be accepted just like the law of gravity. Nobody says that if "Gravity exists, then Gravity is master, Man is a slave"; the idea is too ridiculous to contemplate. As Bacon says, "Nature, to be conquered, must be obeyed". The same is true of God or any other fact of life.)

Bakunin's formulation is a typical feature of Ayn Rand's so-called "thinking" from A to Z: Objectivists are obsessed with "slavery".

The slightest moral obligation to any other human being, even ordinary decency -- unless it is "CHOSEN", of course, until we "CHOOSE" to renounce it -- constitutes "SLAVERY".

Objectivist literature (hundreds of newsletters, journals, etc., most of them published on, or near, college campuses) is obsessed with this problem. There are endless discussions of this and nothing else.  

For example: I am standing by the edge of a swimming pool; someone is drowning in the middle of the pool. By moving my foot one single inch, I can press a button which will project a life-preserver and lifeline into the middle of the pool, very close to the drowning person, which will save his or her life. Am I morally obligated to do this? Of course, not. If that were so, I would be a "SLAVE".

(Among Objectivists, definitions mean nothing. They can NEVER be kept within their proper boundaries, as established by centuries of usage).

Another example: A forestry worker is repairing a road near a bridge which the forestry worker knows to be unsafe. Some hikers approach. They are preparing to use the bridge. The forestry worker knows perfectly well that if they use the bridge, it will probably collapse, and they will probably be killed. Is he obligated to inform them of this simple fact? Of course, not. If he were, he  would be a "SLAVE".    

The solution to all these conundra, in most of these puerile college periodicals), is usually that only if there were a CONTRACT (accompanied by the "payment of a consideration", i.e., MONEY!!!), and in the contingent event that the hikers could point to some paragraph in the fine print stating that they were contractually entitled to be fully informed as to the safety of the bridge, would they be entitled to any warning whatsoever. Case closed. Ordinary human decency need not apply.  

Note that almost nothing in the philosophy of Objectivism is actually original, although Rand billed herself as "history's greatest philosopher". For example, the "anti-slavery doctrine" set forth above is simply a restatement of several doctrines from the Talmud:

(Hilkkoth Akum, 10, 1): Do not save Christians in danger of death;
(Iore Dea, 158, 1): As regards Christians who are not enemies, a Jew may nonetheless refrain from intervening to warn them of a deadly danger.

This is the true spirit of Objectivism: the Talmud.

Prince Peter Kropotkin (ever hear of an anarchist or subversive who wasn't a "prince" in some sense of the word?), in his book Anarchist Morality, says, in effect, and at great length: WE don't throw bombs; WE don't assassinate public figures and heads of state; WE don't rob banks; WHO, US?  

In a logical process echoed by the hippies and Jesus freaks, Kropoptkin claims that If EVERYBODY was an anarchist the way WE are anarchists, there would be UNIVERSAL PEACE AND LOVE, there would be NO NEED FOR POLICE AND PRISONS, NO ARMIES, NO WARS, etc. etc. Peace and love!

This is the typically unrealistic (if not downright stupid) assumption of ALL UTOPIANS that, at some point in the  future, the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE will agree on just ONE interpretation of just ONE idea (naturally, the interpretation favoured by the leader of one's own particular faction), and THEN there will be universal peace and harmony. Forever and ever. Amen!  

(For another example of this kind of silliness, see Kant's essay On Perpetual Peace. It's strange that Rand should have hated Kant so much. But then, people with the same defects very often hate each other. 
For example, point one of Kan't essay On Perpetual Peace states that no peace treaty should contain a clause rendering another war inevitable.
Well, OK, but what if it does, anyway, like the Versailles Treaty?
Oh, well, it simply shouldn't, that's all! No problem!
In this sense, Rand was right when she called Kant "the first hippie".
The problem is that the Objectivists are no better.
What do you get every time you point out some obvious fact to an ideologue? It's always the same:
"Oh, it simply shouldn't be that way, that's all", without any practical suggestion as to how to eliminate the problem, i.e., the obvious fact.
Objectivists do not live in a world of facts. They are infantile, obsessed with wish-fulfilment fantasies. Rand was an overgrown 2-year old.)

The assumption that at some time in the future the entire human race will agree on something is a basic feature of Objectivism. For example, 50 million, 500 million, 5 billion immigrants? No worries; no problems; they will all "adopt American values", which means, of course, the ideas and "values" of Ayn Rand! How could they not?   

Thus, immigrant populations will NEVER reach a point of critical mass at which point they will use their numbers as political clout and take away everything we own, reducing us and our progeny to LITERAL slavery or exterminating us altogether (as has been the case in every comparable situation this far, forcing us to emigrate, after which they follow us everywhere we go).

(For example, there were never any Surinamese in Holland until Surinam -- formerly "Dutch Guiana", located in eastern South America, near Venezuela -- gained its independence, after which they wrecked the economy in one single year, and 100,000 of them immediately moved to Holland, where they are nothing but a nuisance and where their numbers seem to have increased exponentially.)    

Of course, not. Unthinkable! The Objectivist obsession with "slavery" never extends that far. They'll all adopt the thinking of Ayn Rand!

What happens when their "rational self interest" (or any other excuse) dictates that they do precisely that, i.e., exterminate or enslave us?

How long do the "men of the mind" think they'll hold onto their "laissez-faire capitalist" paradise in "Galt's Gulch" after flooding the country with Mexican Marxists and anybody else who wants to come? Five minutes?

Impossible! It will never happen! How do I know? Ayn Rand tells me so!  

Well, as Chico Marx might have put it,

"Atsa whatta Ayn Rand she say, atsa notta what Charles Darwin he say."

As Darwin put it:

"Extinction follows chiefly from the competition of tribe with tribe, and race with race. Various checks are always in action, serving to keep down the numbers of each savage tribe - such as periodical famines, nomadic habits and the consequent deaths of infants, prolonged suckling, wars, accidents, sickness, licentiousness, the stealing of women, infanticide, and especially lessened fertility. If any one of these checks increases in power, even slightly, the tribe thus affected tends to decrease; and when of two adjoining tribes one becomes less numerous and less powerful than the other, the contest is soon settled by war, slaughter, cannibalism, slavery, and absorption. Even when a weaker tribe is not thus abruptly swept away, if it once begins to decrease, it generally goes on decreasing until it becomes extinct."   

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man  


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