I was stunned to see a statement/announcement by a senior Objectivist. It read: “Objectivism in one sentence: I’m not brave enough to be a coward—I see the consequences too clearly.”
“This quintessentially Ayn Rand quip captures and implies the entire Objectivist philosophy, ‘A is A’ to rational selfishness, to the politics of laissez faire, and the esthetics of romantic realism. This episode shows how and why.” I was appalled because it misrepresents Ms. Rand and Objectivism. Most senior Objectivists will see the absurdity of this, but for new Objectivists, let me point out that Ms. Rand herself very clearly defined the essence of her philosophy:
“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
That is Objectivism in one sentence.
Ayn Rand was positive and would never want to encapsulate Objectivism in such a statement as: “I’m not brave enough to be a coward.” That is a negative view.
As one commentor put it, “There are those of us who see life as a joyous process of achieving our values and those who see it as a constant battle against evil.”
One sentence that does capture the spirit and essence of Objectivism is “Love of the good for being good.”
Carl B. Barney
November 14, 2022