Monday, November 19, 2007

Ayn Rand on racism in 1963

Racism, writes Ayn Rand, is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism.

In 1963, Rand denounced conservatives, liberals, Soviets, and Negro leaders in one fell swoop. She finds them all guilty of various forms of collectivism and advocates for complete freedom of the individual.

It is not a man's ancestors or relatives or genes or body chemistry that count in a free market, but only one human attribute: productive ability. It is by his own individual ability and ambition that capitalism judges a man and rewards him accordingly.

I've been reading a few Ayn Rand books and appreciate her objectivist philosophy. Someday our society will be truly color blind. Someday the U.S. government will be, in the words of Harold Washington, "equitable and fair". Someday our free market economy will not trample the rights of individuals halfway around the globe.

But the fact is that someday will never come if we don't address the needs of people today. Scientific reason makes progress in each generation, but we are still an unreasonably impetuous and foolhardy species. Technology has advanced to the point where the next global war could annihilate our entire race. Scary, but true.

It's in our own best interest to help the less educated and less skilled to improve. Why? Because doing so increases the chance that Homo Sapiens will survive another half-million years. It's not low-rent housing by Howard Roark, but Bill Gates is making significant contributions.

And I can't help thinking that John Galt's Twentieth Century Motor could have been Zefram Cochrane's warp drive.

Am I an optimistic hippie or what?

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