Thursday, February 21, 2008
AYN RAND NOT POPULAR IN ISRAEL
There was an article about Ayn Rand in the Jerusalem Post last July. The article includes a YouTube video of Dr. Yaron Brook speaking about the current war that Israel and the U.S. are engaged in.
Dr. Brook is the president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) in Irvine, California. In the video he explains that we really don't know who we are at war with, equating the War on Terrorism with a war on Japanese kamakazie pilots during World War II. Then, acknowledging that terrorism is an ideaology, he equates the war on terrorism with a war on Japanese Imperialists and Nazis, implying as he does so that instead during World War II we made war on a nation, not on an ideaology.
Yet he tells us that all of the people making war have had one goal in mind, and that has been world domination; and that the current conflict has the same root cause.
To the extent that these ideas have developed out of Rand's philosophy, I cannot disagree with Brook's conclusion. But the article goes on to say of Rand's philosophy: "its distinctive development is a moral ideal of 'selfishness,' whereby someone's own happiness is a moral responsibility". He goes on to give Rand's mantra, '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."
Rand, born in St. Petersburg in 1905 to a middle-class Jewish family by the name of Rosenbaum, wrote at age 29, "I want to fight religion as the root of all human lying and the only excuse for suffering."
She was not an observant Jew, and in Israel she is not the sort of cult icon that she is becoming in America. Brook
thinks her popularity is now at its highest, with more than 750,000 of her books sold annually.
Historically, American academia has been dismissive of Ayn Rand, but in recent years her work is increasingly being included in mainstream curricula. According to the Ayn Rand Institute, which works to raise her profile in academic circles, more than 30 professors teach Rand in leading American universities, with the number continually growing.
The same is not true of Israel where her philosophy is not taught. Moshe Kroy did teach it at Tel Aviv University in the 1970s. Subsequently he abandoned it for Scientology. That should tell us something about the path Rand was following, given that Scientology is closely associated with the beliefs of Aleister Crowley, and given that, as I blogged yesterday, there is a hot debate taking place between the Randians and the Satanists.
Jeff Walker has written a book, THE AYN RAND CULT, which is reviewed online. From the review:
"For many, Rand's Objectivism was a way station between L Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and Werner Erhard's est...not only has the Objectivist movement been a classic cult as defined in the dictionary, it may arguably be viewed as a destructive psychotherapeutic-religious cult..." (page 98)
"Ayn Rand was not the first to propound an ethics for the masses based on survival as a rational being. That honor goes to fellow novelist and cult leader L Ron Hubbard (1911-1986), the science-fiction writer who founded Dianetics and the Church of Scientology. Dianetics preceded...the Objectivist ethics by 11 years. Dianetics groups formed on campuses during the 1950's, much as Ayn Rand clubs would in the 1960's. Many who flocked to Objectivism in the 1960's had previously had some contact with Dianetics or Scientology.
Dr. Yaron Brooke has posted comments on the Iraq war in the THINK-ISRAEL BLOG-EDS (scroll down), dated November 22, 2005:
We must define war objectives designed solely to protect the American people from Islamic terrorism, and then execute those objectives by any means necessary. Above all, we must make it our objective, not to bring the good life to every corner of the Middle East, but to make the terrorist states of the Middle East non-threatening--which means that we must end state sponsorship of terrorism.
In Iraq, we must crush the insurgency immediately--which includes choking its backers, Iran and Syria--and let the Iraqis themselves take on the responsibility of establishing a government that will not threaten America. Once the insurgency is crushed the priority should be on eliminating the regime that is the greatest terrorist and nuclear threat to the United States in the Middle East: Iran. Such a policy would serve as a death blow to bin Laden, al-Zarqawi and the rest of the fundamentalists, who attract their recruits with the hope that America can slowly be defeated.