Home > philosophy, politics > Libertarian hearts bleed … for themselves

Libertarian hearts bleed … for themselves

The Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog continues to disappoint. Today, it’s a whiny post that suggest that if Ayn Rand had just been left-wing, she’d be recognized as brilliant. Oh, woe is us.

The commenters, thankfully, have hit this softball over the fence. (Yes, I chimed in.)

Come on, guys — if you’re not going to present the unique nonpartisan point of view you were promising, give it up. So far, this isn’t “bleeding heart” libertarianism. It’s just “frat boy” libertarianism, using renegade academics to excuse a selfish lifestyle.

Two Hypotheses Concerning Ayn Rand – Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

UPDATE: The post disappeared. Fortunately, I have it cached:

1. If Ayn Rand’s novels had exactly the same feel, tone, and style, but were left-wing rather than whatever-wing she is, she would be considered one of the world’s greatest novelists by the literati who right now hate her writing.

2. If Ayn Rand’s novels had been left-leaning, the literati who now hate her as a person would excuse most of her moral faults (manipulativeness, drug-addiction, etc.) rather than condemn her as a bad person.

By the way, I don’t intend 1 and 2 to be a defense of Rand so much as a criticism of others.

For some evidence in favor of 1 and 2, see this study by Drew Weston.

If the post comes back up, let me know, and I’ll take down the re-creation. Utilitarians are happy to abide by reasonable copyright restrictions.

UPDATE 2: The post has been clarified and reposted. I think my comment is still valid, though perhaps the “frat-boy libertarianism” comment is a little harsher than it should be. The rest of the comments under the new post are frankly better than mine. Consensus: Rand was a mediocre writer who rose to fame because she had a unique view of the world.

That said, Mill isn’t exactly a fun read. At least Rand tried to do something unique.

Categories: philosophy, politics
  1. Jason Brennan
    April 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm


    I took it down rather than edit it, because I’m not a Rand fan and it’s not worth my time arguing over this. I didn’t say Rand is really a genius who fails to get the recognition she deserves because she’s not left-wing. Rather, I had a hypothesis: if she had been left-wing, people who now hate her would treat her as if she were a genius. Like I said, I don’t mean that to be a defense of Ayn Rand, but rather a criticism of others. I think people are pretty biased politically, and if she had had the right point of view, people would have overlooked her flaws.

    I could have said that better, but everyone took it instead to be me saying Ayn Rand is really awesome. Can’t have that.


  2. April 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks — I appreciate the feedback.

    I do see your distinction between defending Rand and criticizing the critics. That said, in my experience, people are quite as biased as the media make them out to be. People still watch Hollywood films even if the cast members are loony leftists, Scientologists or any other sort of ideology that doesn’t fit well in middle America. That’s why I agreed with the commenters that most people would say Rand sucks, regardless of ideology.

    One thing I appreciated in your post, though, was that you were at least speaking in plain English. I’ve had my fill of academic-ese in school.


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