The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

by Jesse Walker

Tuesday, October 08, 2002
WHY I AM NOT A RANDIAN, PART XXIII: For further evidence that the Ayn Rand Institute dwells in some naval-gazing nether-zone, check out its
take on the Eldred case. There you'll learn that building on someone else's creative work is "intellectual cannibalism," that there's no point to "trying to convey to the world one's own vital viewpoint" if other people can then adapt it for their own purposes, and (chortle) that Lawrence Lessig is a Marxist.

This bizarre essay may actually be a subtle self-justification. Since its creation, the Ayn Rand Institute has devoted a large fraction of its energy to policing anyone interested in adapting Rand's ideas for non-approved philosophical purposes. I've never been much of a Rand fan myself, but I've long noticed a division between the people who digested her influence and then moved along their personal path, and those with a cultish reverence for her every word. The first group includes many intelligent and admirable figures -- including, as it happens, Lawrence Lessig. The second group includes the humorless cadres of the Ayn Rand Institute, who now want the law to freeze every creator's work in time.

As long as I'm writing about the Randites: What exactly is the deal with those Objectivist pamphlets that got seized in Canada -- the ones defending "Israel's moral right to exist"? Most of the commentary on this case has focused, quite properly, on the gross violation of the Randians' freedom of speech. But I'm curious about the pamphlets themselves. I thought Objectivists believed that only individuals have rights, and I don't think the essay was a defense of Israel Kirzner.


posted by Jesse 12:46 PM
. . .

. . .

For past entries, click here.


. . .