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Conservatism’s National Bedrock: Ayn Rand and The State

“Don’t fix it if it’s not broken” this is a maxim that I’m sure we’ve all heard before. It’s a statement that epitomizes the ethos of small, hands off government that most market-conservatives are in favor of. But this idea also plays a central part in an ideology that has been a strong undercurrent of Republican thinking for decades, the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand.

Rand’s famous books such as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are two almost scripture-esq pieces of economic and personal philosophy that crystalize the viewpoint of the pro-business, anti-communal conservative in the post war period. This encompassing philosophy, Objectivist is based on the following tennets-

  1. The embracing of Laissez-faire capitalism.
  2. A small government composed solely of essential executive, legislative and judicial functions.
  3. The belief in individualism over all forms of collectivism.
  4. The idea that reality is an absolute, without any room for subjectivity.

I would expand upon number four in the list for a moment, as I feel it appeals to the current political climate most of all. Life is empirical; the scientific method has shown us that rational conclusions must be reproducible. This is very much the logos of the American political right, striving for rational discourse.

The currency of the left however is a shameless pathos. By this I mean that their clout is gained and spent not by reasoned argument and fact, but by emotional outrage and subjective feeling. When a liberal is presented with a logical refutation backed up by cold facts, they cannot respond in kind of course, for that would revel their own position as lesser and flawed. So naturally they must re-frame the argument to be a struggle of blind emotion or “Feel over real”.

Personal ambition and pride is another facet of Objectivism shared by Republicans. We are not our brother’s keeper and need not sacrifice our own toil to support another man.

Say what you will of charity and a graduated net to support the old who have contributed to society. By freely plying the unambitious and malcontents with a never-ending stream of resources we irrevocably harm them by denying them the sweat of their own brow.

The nineteenth century Austrian diplomat and statesmen Klemens von Metternich once remarked that “a good argument should be like a bayonet, not too long, not too short, and right to the point.”  I would follow his example with the following statement to sum up Objectivism, competition breeds excellence.

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