Archive | October 16, 2009

The Tragic Rand

Will Wilkinson has a good anti-conflationist piece on Rand, here. (CHT Charles Johnson.) I posted the following quibble:

Excellent piece (and on related points see also my posts Ayn Rand’s Left-Libertarian Legacy and Ayn Rand and the Capitalist Class); but I think I disagree with you about the benevolent-universe premise; when she says that success is metaphysically normal, I don’t think she means this to entail that success (or even the possibility of success) is statistically normal. Admittedly I think she perhaps sometimes slides from the former to the latter in her later writings (as in her changing views on charity); but if so, that was a mistaken inference and doesn’t impugn the principle itself. By analogy (to make a Michael Thompson-y point): even if some plague caused most lions to be born with three legs, it would still be true that the lion is a four-legged animal or that being four-legged is normal for lions.

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