Sunday, July 28, 2019

On Two Closed Systems: Marxism and Objectivism

Vladimir Lenin made Marxism a closed system in 1909: In his major theoretical work Materialism and Empirio-criticism, Lenin writes, “You cannot eliminate even one basic assumption, on substantial part of this philosophy of Marxism (it is as if it were a solid block of steel) without abandoning objective truth, without falling into the arms of the bourgeois-reactionary falsehood.”

Leonard Peikoff made Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism a closed system in 1989: In his article, “Fact and Value,” Peikoff writes, “Objectivism holds that every truth is an absolute, and that a proper philosophy is an integrated whole, any change in any element of which would destroy the entire system.”

I am not sure if Peikoff has read Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-criticism but it is clear that the arguments that he has used in his article, to justify the imposition of the closed system rule on objectivism, are similar to the arguments that Lenin has proposed in his famous book.

Rand and Lenin were poles apart in their philosophies—she stood for individualism, liberty, and capitalism, and he stood for collectivism, totalitarianism, and socialism. But there are several methodological and structural parallels between objectivism (as interpreted by Rand’s heir Peikoff) and Marxism (as interpreted by Lenin).

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