Ayn Rand & Altruism

This is perhaps the best, most eloquent piece I have ever read discussing the deeper aspects of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, beyond the surface, which most of her detractors are all too eager to condemn.

The Awkward Pose

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This essay was recently published in WBUR Cognoscenti, where it generated more comments than all my previous Cognoscenti articles combined. Ayn Rand is still a polarizing character.

April is National Volunteer Month. Over the past forty years I’ve donated time in dozens of ways, but since I retired, providing services without compensation has become even more commonplace. This commemorative month seems an appropriate time to reflect upon why I enjoy unpaid activities. It’s also got me thinking about Ayn Rand.

images-3Ayn Rand was all the rage when I came of age in the 1960’s. The libertarian darling authored the hedonistic novels Altas Shrugged and The Fountainhead as well as a philosophical manifesto titled The Virtue of Selfishness. She once said, “If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.” What light could the originator of Objectivism possibly shed on volunteering?

Merriam-Webster defines altruism…

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