Government grants loan to libertarian-based Ayn Rand institute
By Jonny Lupsha, News Editor
The Ayn Rand Institute received a government loan of $ 1 million, Reuters reported. The Russian-American author denounced government dependence and defended autonomy and entrepreneurship. However, Rand’s philosophy often advocated autonomy.
According to Reuters, a federally funded loan program designed to help small businesses has seen at least one surprising beneficiary. “The institute promoting the” laissez-faire capitalism “of the writer Ayn Rand […] has been approved for a Paycheque Protection Plan (PPP) Loan up to $ 1 million, ”the article says.
“The Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism in Santa Ana, Calif., Has sought to preserve 35 jobs through P3 funding. The institute referred Reuters to a May 15 article, in which board member Harry Binswanger and board member Onkar Ghate wrote that the organization would accept any financial aid offered by the CARES Act. .
Ayn Rand, the Russian-American novelist whose work includes Fountain and Atlas shrugged, used a philosophy in his fiction and non-fiction that promoted individualism and unhindered capitalism, denouncing government involvement in virtually every aspect of life.
Libertarianism and objectivism
Ayn Rand’s beliefs often aligned with those of modern libertarianism.
“Libertarians belong to two great clans: economists and philosophers,” said Dr Lawrence Cahoone, professor of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. “Libertarian economists generally argue for maximum individual freedom and minimum government interference through a utilitarian economic argument – in other words, that free markets bring the greatest utility or the greatest benefit to society.
“Philosophical libertarians have been theorists of ethical and natural rights, arguing that capitalism is morally required regardless of its consequences. “
Likewise, the philosophy of Ayn Rand — which is called objectivism– is rooted in humanity’s need for survival, which it believes is rooted in autonomy. Dr Cahoone said that there is an objective standard of value, objective ethics, in his beliefs, and that “rights” are how this ethics is applied in society.
“Note that the rights are mainly not to own things,” he said. “They are a right to oneself and to one’s own life, which gives the right to pursue interests and goals. But on this basis, property rights – which are the rights to use, enjoy, or dispose of something – are essential. “
A skeptic’s perspective on altruism
Rand’s emphasis on self-reliance came with the unconventional cost of disavowing the idea of charity, which most of society, good or bad, accepts as a virtue.
“Rand hates selflessness,” said Dr. Cahoone. “That is, she hates the tendency to take the effects or benefits of my actions on others as the ultimate moral standard. And second, she hates the belief that the highest moral act is selflessness.
Rand believed that if people are precious, then by extension their selfish goals and freedoms are valuable. Therefore, selfishness is a virtue. This belief is called “rational selfishness”, which Dr. Cahoone defined as a belief in which “selfishness is a moral duty”.
“Capitalism, for her, is therefore the only moral and rational socio-economic system in the history of mankind. she approves let it go; no government activity whose purpose is more than the protection of individuals and their property is fair. She wanted a voluntary tax system, among a simple supply of military and police.
While this may seem at odds with the Ayn Rand Institute’s acceptance of a federal government loan, the group said in a statement that it was accepting the $ 1 million PPP loan “without excuse, because the principle here is justice ”.
Dr Lawrence Cahoone contributed to this article. Dr Cahoone is professor of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where he has taught since 2000. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.