Showing posts from June, 2023

Why Ayn Rand was Wrong

  It is a pet theory of mine that the "greatness" or "importance" of a philosopher is mostly determined by that philosopher's subsequent degree of influence on a government leader.  Would we still talk about Socrates, if his student Critias had not taken over Athens as the leader of the Dictatorship of the Thirty?  Would we talk about Aristotle, had he not tutored Alexander, who later became Alexander the Great and took over a vast part of the ancient world?  Would we remember Rousseau, had not Robespierre declared him "divine"?  Or Locke and Montesquieu, had not the founders of the United States revered them?  The esteem given to the philosophy by professional professors within the academy matters less, and its internal coherence, or insight, or truth matters less still.  By this measure, Ayn Rand is, unfortunately, the most important philosopher of the 20th century.   Even though she is barely noticed by philosophy departments, Ayn Rand is massively