Monday, November 20, 2006

NewU Letter to the Editor: Ayn Rand Speaker Hypocritical

Following up on this previous post (see link for additional references):

Link to article

Ayn Rand Speaker Hypocritical

In the article about Yaron Brook, (“Ayn Rand Institute Director Yaron Brook Speaks to Divided Audience,” Nov. 13) Ayn Rand President and first-year humanities major Eric Brunner states that the people of Iran are better off dead than slaves to a totalitarian state. Does this imply that they should all commit suicide or that they should all be murdered? Either way this is a grotesque and evil thing to say.

One false assumption in this statement is that the Iranian people are slaves to their state. Sure, there are aspects of the Islamic Republic that are repressive, but there are also parts that are not. A slave is someone who has no say in anything that happens to him or her and is kept locked in a closed system. This is simply not the case for many Iranians, as is evident from – among other examples – Iranian students leaving Iran and studying in America on student visas and high numbers of Iranian women being educated in Iran. If the people of Iran are slaves to their state, then the people of the United States are slaves to their republic. In any government, there are parts that people agree with and parts that they don’t.

Furthermore, the people of Iran love their country, whether they live in America, Iran or any other country. To quote Brunner, “If people cannot leave Iran and are against Islamic totalitarianism, they should welcome the destruction of Iran even if it could mean their own death.” To call for the destruction of Iran for the purposes of Western self-interest is disgusting. But that’s how Rand’s ideology works—since countries like Iran are perceived as a threat to international security, we should kill the people in Iran. It is interesting that this group works to support the country of Israel, a bastion of objectivism and self-interest. However, it would be wiser for this group to support the nation of Palestine.

If I may modify a quote from Brunner, “If for some reason some people cannot leave Israel and are against Israeli totalitarianism, they should welcome the destruction of Israel even if it could mean their own death.” It can be seen that Brunner’s ideology can support such atrocious things as suicide bombing and even mass murder—as long as these actions support a “rational self-interest.”

The people of Palestine have a rational self-interest in the destruction of Israel “even if it could mean their own death,” and these people are more like slaves to a totalitarian regime than people in Iran.

The Ayn Rand Club advocates laissez-faire economics and the end of altruism. This is like a neo-Social Darwinist movement. The Social Darwinists advocated laissez-faire economics, which failed in the United States in the 1930s and continues to harm the world wherever it rears its ugly face (consider Africa). Laissez-faire economics also works to oppress an internally colonized people.

Furthermore, without altruism the state of Israel would not exist (consider U.S.-Israeli relations). Rand considers selfishness a virtue and believes that if everyone were to care just about him or herself, we wouldn’t need places like hospitals, health care centers, daycare centers, senior centers or any social institutions, which would lead to bliss and maybe heaven on Earth.

Lastly, if these people truly believed in their ideology, which calls for going to war against Islamic totalitarianism because it’s a threat to the world, they can join the military or become mercenaries. But when it comes to this type of people, they lead by what they say and not by what they do.

Shaun Cunningham
Fourth-year Political Science major

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