Rothbard on Rand

quotes political philosophy liberalism individualism objectivism reason

14 May 2014

Murray Rothbard on Ayn Rand:

There seems to be only one way to resolve the contradiction in the Randian strategic outlook of extreme sectarianism within the libertarian movement, coupled with extreme opportunism, and willingness to coalesce with slightly more conservative heads of State, in the outside world. That resolution, confirmed by the remainder of our analysis of the cult, holds that the guiding spirit of the Randian movement was not individual liberty – as it seemed to many young members – but rather personal power for Ayn Rand and her leading disciples. For power within the movement could be secured by totalitarian isolation and control of the minds and lives of every member; but such tactics could scarcely work outside the movement, where power could only hopefully be achieved by cozying up the President and his inner circles of dominion.

Thus, power not liberty or reason, was the central thrust of the Randian movement. The major lesson of the history of the movement to libertarians is that It Can Happen Here, that libertarians, despite explicit devotion to reason and individuality, are not exempt from the mystical and totalitarian cultism that pervades other ideological as well as religious movements. Hopefully, libertarians, once bitten by the virus, may now prove immune.

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