Ayn Rand was a Russian-American philosopher, novelist, and playwright, born on February 2, 1905, in St. Petersburg, Russia, as Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum. She is best known for her philosophy of [[Objectivism]] and her novels, including "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged."
Rand grew up in a middle-class Jewish family in Russia during the early 20th century. She was educated in Russia, but due to the political turmoil and the [[Bolshevik Revolution]], she and her family emigrated to the United States in 1926. In the US, Rand worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and began writing fiction.
## Ayn Rand: Mother of Libertarianism
In 1943, Rand published her first novel, "The Fountainhead," which became an immediate bestseller. The book was a celebration of individualism and portrayed a hero who pursued his own values and refused to conform to the expectations of society. Her next novel, "Atlas Shrugged," published in 1957, became even more famous and cemented her position as a leading figure in the [libertarian movement](https://doctorparadox.net/libertarian-narcissism-right-wing-ideology/).
Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, espouses reason, individualism, and [[laissez-faire capitalism]]. She believed that the pursuit of one's own self-interest was the highest moral purpose and that the government should have minimal involvement in the lives of its citizens.
Rand died on March 6, 1982, in New York City, at the age of 77. She influenced a number of prominent figures who have espoused various strains of Objectivist beliefs, including former [[Federal Reserve]] Chair Alan Greenspan, former Speaker of the House [[Paul Ryan]], Supreme Court Justice [[Clarence Thomas]], economist and libertarian thinker [[Murray Rothbard]], and former US Senator Ron Paul and his son and sitting Senator Rand Paul -- reportedly named after the novelist.
## Criticisms of Objectivism
Many thinkers have been skeptical of Rand's Objectivist philosophy over the years. Some of the major areas of criticism include:
1. **Selfishness**: Objectivism's emphasis on rational self-interest and individualism has been criticized for promoting selfishness and a lack of concern for others.
2. **Limited government**: Objectivism advocates for a government with minimal involvement in citizens' lives, which some argue could lead to a lack of regulation and [oversight](https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/authoritarianism/oversight/), resulting in unchecked corporate power and [[negative externalities]].
3. **Rationality**: Some critics argue that Objectivism's reliance on reason and rationality as the only means of acquiring knowledge is too limited and fails to account for subjective experiences, emotions, and intuition.
4. **Reductionism**: Objectivism's emphasis on individualism and rationality has been criticized for reducing complex human experiences to a simplistic worldview.
5. **Lack of empirical evidence**: Critics argue that Objectivism lacks empirical evidence to support its claims and relies too heavily on abstract principles and deductive reasoning.
6. **Inconsistency**: Some critics argue that Objectivism's principles are inconsistent and contradictory, particularly in regards to its advocacy for laissez-faire capitalism and individualism while also promoting the protection of individual rights.
7. **Ethical relativism**: Objectivism has been criticized for promoting ethical relativism, where individuals are free to create their moral code without any objective or universal standard.
See also: [[The Supreme Court]]