Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ayn Rand (and the) Sociopath

This article on Ayn Rand and her cult has gotten a lot of attention recently, but it didn't tell me much that I didn't already know -- both her and her followers were immature, emotionally stunted and dysfunctional. The sexual and power escapades of the cultists are somewhere between amusing and pathetic.

This, however was new to me and genuinely horrifying. Good Lord.

The wall between political ideology and psychopathology just keeps getting weaker. Or, put it another way: politics inherently involves deep-seated psychological processes: emotion, attachment, self-image, object-relations, purity, boundaries, etc. Like religion, it's one way people deal with their inner turmoils and conflicts, by projecting them outside themselves. Extremism in politics goes together with extreme psychological states. The madness outside is a reflection of the madness inside.

One of the reasons Marxism seems so hokey to me is that it presumes that people's politics should be based on a rational material interests. Not on this planet. I suppose standard capitalist economics makes the same assumptions but is more robust to their falsity.

I always thought that autism was the right model for Randroids but perhaps the sociopath is closer. In both diseases, the person has something fundamentally wrong with their theory-of-mind module. Rand elevated this lack of ability to have compassion into the cardinal virtue of her ethical system. Most Randroids of course do not have anything organically wrong with their brains, they are merely would-be sociopaths.

1 comment:

David Xavier said...

"One of the reasons Marxism seems so hokey to me is that it presumes that people's politics should be based on a rational material interests."

Rational material interests lead people to reject Marxism ... it simply can not deliver. And it impoverishes not only materially , but in terms of freedom and liberty but also its rejection of spirituality.Its moral underpinnings of equality are a lie.

I always thought Rand-ism or Objectivism as similar but opposite to Marxism ( Communism,Socialism) ...it that they ultimately reject humanity.