Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sam Harris on Randian libertarianism

I posted this Sam Harris blog at FB concerning the greedy rich. Here are a few excerpts of his follow-up post:

"It is difficult to ignore the responsibility that Ayn Rand bears for all of this. [...] As someone who has written and spoken at length about how we might develop a truly 'objective' morality, I am often told by followers of Rand that their beloved guru accomplished this task long ago. The result was Objectivism—a view that makes a religious fetish of selfishness and disposes of altruism and compassion as character flaws. If nothing else, this approach to ethics was a triumph of marketing, as Objectivism is basically autism rebranded."

"And I say this as someone who considers himself, in large part, a 'libertarian'—and who has, therefore, embraced more or less everything that was serviceable in Rand’s politics. The problem with pure libertarianism, however, has long been obvious: We are not ready for it. Judging from my recent correspondence, I feel this more strongly than ever. There is simply no question that an obsession with limited government produces impressive failures of wisdom and compassion in otherwise intelligent people."

"There is a stunning lack of insight into the unfolding of human events that passes for moral and economic wisdom in some circles. And it is pernicious. Followers of Rand, in particular, believe that only a blind reliance on market forces and the narrowest conception of self interest can steer us collectively toward the best civilization possible and that any attempt to impose wisdom or compassion from the top—no matter who is at the top and no matter what the need—is necessarily corrupting of the whole enterprise. This conviction is, at the very least, unproven. And there are many reasons to believe that it is dangerously wrong."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.