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Monday, January 8, 2018

Will Ayn Rand Survive Postmodernism?

In his article, “Objectivism: An Autopsy, Part 3,” Greg Nyquist says that he sees Objectivism as an overreaction to the Soviet Union’s communist system of which Ayn Rand had a first hand experience. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, communism mutated into postmodernism which has acquired a powerful intellectual, cultural and political base in the world. As Rand did not have any first hand experience with postmodernism, her philosophy does not offer any clear solutions to the problems that the world faces today.

Here’s an excerpt from the final paragraph of Nyquist’s article:
Objectivism and libertarianism having been trying to convert people to their respective creeds for over sixty years, and they have little to show for it. With the surge of the radical left (at least terms of social and cultural influence) in recent years, the right is beginning to retrench into old forms of nationalism, both civic and, sometimes, in extreme cases, even racial. As the right-left ideological paradigm shifts and new factions on the right form to challenge globalism and non-white identitarianism, it's not clear how Objectivism and Rand-inspired libertarianism are going to maintain even a small sliver of relevance.
In his article Nyquist does not offer any solution, but, I think, he has made some interesting points. It is true that communism is yesterday’s problem—today’s problem is postmodernism. Rand’s philosophy is inspiring but her ideas cannot make headway in a society that is deeply divided between the postmodernist right and the postmodernist left. The Objectivists have to rework their philosophy and develop some fresh insights if they want to remain relevant. They cannot win support for their viewpoints if they continue to hitchhike on the theories and arguments that Rand developed more than 50 years ago.

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