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 Ethics: Self Interest
 
Ayn Rand: My Hero
Capitalism Magazine, United States Friday, July 24, 2009


Ayn Rand is, to me, more than merely the author of those great books. Thanks to Ayn Rand, I came to appreciate that happiness – defined by her as a state of noncontradictory joy – is not merely important, but the only purpose for living. All principles, ideas and actions must serve this purpose, writes Michael J Hurd in the Capitalism Magazine.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand is the author of the famous novels "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged."

 

Ayn Rand is, to me, more than merely the author of those great books.

 

She is the one who gave me the idea that human reason is not just a nice supplement to emotions, but the basis for all knowledge and understanding, and ultimately survival.

 

She is the one who gave me the idea that living a life of self-interest is not only acceptable, but, indeed, the only moral and practical way to live.

 

Thanks to Ayn Rand, I understand that a world in which everyone gives, like Mother Teresa, would be a world in which everyone is in need, and nothing is accomplished except the freezing-in-place of endless suffering. (For examples, look at most of the Third World.)

 

Thanks to her, I understand that a world in which everyone took care of himself first would be the most benevolent, comfortable and inspiring place imaginable. (For a hint of that ideal, look at the United States in its 200 year history, and compare it to the Third World.)

 

Thanks to Ayn Rand, I came to realize that the only crucial issue of politics has nothing whatsoever to do with liberalism or conservatism, Democrats or Republicans. The only crucial issue of politics is the right of the individual to be free of all physical force, whether that force is initiated by criminals or by government. All politicians and policies are to be judged by this principle.

 

Thanks to Ayn Rand, I came to understand that romanticism and realism need not be at war with each other, and that avoiding such a war does not require a watering down of either.

 

Ayn Rand taught me to be proud of my absolutism, not out of a sense of stubborn, irrational rigidity, but because consistent adherence to correct ideas is the only way achieve practical success of any kind. Because of her, I came to grasp that certainty comes not from splitting the difference between two or more wrong ideas, but through seeking and adhering to what's objectively, provably right. Because of her, I dare to use – and mean – the words "right" and "wrong" in a society where doing so is a mortal sin.

 

Thanks to Ayn Rand, I came to appreciate that happiness – defined by her as a state of noncontradictory joy – is not merely important, but the only purpose for living. All principles, ideas and actions must serve this purpose.

 

Somebody once asked me if I am a follower of Ayn Rand. I replied that I follow nobody except my own mind, provided that my mind reaches conclusions consistent with the way things are and ought to be. Ayn Rand, more than any other single thinker I have yet to encounter, provides ideas that actually can be put into practice and can actually work.

 

A hero is not somebody you follow. A true hero is somebody who, through her ideas and accomplishments, puts you in command of your own destiny.

 

Ayn Rand fits this description better than anyone I have encountered, or expect to encounter in my lifetime.

 

(Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, life coach and author of Effective Therapy (New York: Dunhill, 1997) and Grow Up America!)
This article was published in the Capitalism Magazine on Friday, July 24, 2009. Please read the original article here.
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