Libertarianism and Objectivism

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Libertarianism and Objectivism have a complex relationship. Though they share many of the same political goals, Objectivists see some libertarians as plagiarists of their ideas "with the teeth pulled out of them," [1] whereas some libertarians see Objectivists as dogmatic, unrealistic, and uncompromising. Ayn Rand herself despised libertarianism. In Ayn Rand's own words,

"Above all, do not join the wrong ideological groups or movements, in order to 'do something.' By 'ideological' (in this context), I mean groups or movements proclaiming some vaguely generalized, undefined (and, usually, contradictory) political goals. (E.g., the Conservative Party, which subordinates reason to faith, and substitutes theocracy for capitalism; or the 'libertarian' hippies, who subordinate reason to whims, and substitute anarchism for capitalism.) To join such groups means to reverse the philosophical hierarchy and to sell out fundamental principles for the sake of some superficial political action which is bound to fail. It means that you help the defeat of your ideas and the victory of your enemies." [2]


"For the record, I shall repeat what I have said many times before: I do not join or endorse any political group or movement. More specifically, I disapprove of, disagree with and have no connection with, the latest aberration of some conservatives, the so-called 'hippies of the right,' who attempt to snare the younger or more careless ones of my readers by claiming simultaneously to be followers of my philosophy and advocates of anarchism. Anyone offering such a combination confesses his inability to understand either. Anarchism is the most irrational, anti-intellectual notion ever spun by the concrete-bound, context-dropping, whim-worshiping fringe of the collectivist movement, where it properly belongs."[3]

According to Reason Magazine editor Nick Gillespie in the magazine's March 2005 issue focusing on Objectivism's influence, Ayn Rand is "one of the most important figures in the libertarian movement... A century after her birth and more than a decade after her death, Rand remains one of the best-selling and most widely influential figures in American thought and culture" in general and in libertarianism in particular. In the same issue, Cathy Young says that "Libertarianism, the movement most closely connected to Rand’s ideas, is less an offspring than a rebel stepchild."[2]

External links


  1. (
  2. Ayn Rand, "What Can One Do?" Philosophy: Who Needs It
  3. Ayn Rand, "Brief Summary," The Objectivist, September 1971