Why do folks hate Ayn Rand?

Paul Fiolkowski
3 min readNov 21, 2022

The same reason why people hate Friedrich Nietzsche. She fails the game theory.

And she was an inveterate asshole.

Game theory is the hardest test bench for any philosophy. To be a valid philosophy, a philosophy must pass the game theory. In a nutshell, the Nash equilibrium must fall on the positive side, i.e. the philosophy produces the best results for the adherent the more people in the society follow the same philosophy.

There is actually very little difference between teenage Satanism and Objectivism. Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we live in a world which is divided into filthy rich and dirt poor. To justify and extol human greed and egotism — the vilest, lowest and basest instincts of human nature, is to my mind not only immoral, but simply evil. Conspicuous by their absence from Rand’s list of virtues are the virtues of benevolence, such as kindness, charity, generosity, and forgiveness. It’s so terrible that even Conservapedia opposes it. (I mean, even evil has standards.)

Bertrand Russell tore Nietzsche into pieces in his History of the Western Philosophy. I am not going to repeat his operational procedure, but let’s say it was enough to secure him the Nobel prize of literature. Rand is nothing but a moggy copycat of Nietzsche.

To put a long rant short, Egoism produces the best results for the egoist as long as the other people are not egoists, i.e. do not maximize their own self-interest and spite of the interests of the others. In principle, the fewer other people adhere to Egoism, the better results for the Egoist himself. The Nash equilibrium of both Nietzsche and Rand are heavily on the negative side. That alone puts Objectivism on the ‘failure’ side.

Game theory also proves the gaping holes in Objectivist theory, as insisting on the Objectivist logic means that in situations like the prisoner’s dilemma, each Objectivist will try to benefit at the expense of the other and both will lose out. Rational individuals in prisoner’s dilemma-type positions understand that cooperation and altruism is the better strategy (at least for repeated play), and both will win out. It should be noted that Objectivism’s system of morals shares many similarities with a formalized mental disorder, namely psychopathy.

I have read an excellent book on what is a society like when all freedoms are maximized. It has been written by William Golding, and it is called “Lord of the Flies”. That is Objectivism to you, with a reality check.

Moreover, I failed to see Howard Roark in The Fountainhead as a ‘heroic architect’. I saw him as an egomaniac cultural Arschloch who would cause a catastrophe to the society rather than any good by his ideas’ uncompromising attitude. The ever-healthy reality check of the real world of such an architect is, of course, Le Corbusier. See Did Le Corbusier have a positive impact on architecture? Here is your real life Howard Roark — and how his ideas introduced slums in the European cities where they did not exist before him.

So all in all, her philosophies were based on fiction literature, they fail the game theory and they produce a catastrophe when put in practice.

Unfortunately, very few people actually are aware of the real life failures of Randian ideals — and even fewer have seen them with their own eyes, or experienced them the hard way. See Psychology Today article: What Happens When You Take Ayn Rand Seriously?

A healthy satire of Objectivism is, of course, the Berthold Brecht opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. It was prohibited in Nazi Germany, not because of ideological contents, but because Brecht was a staunch Communist.

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Paul Fiolkowski

I am just another American expat, who found that yes indeed, the grass can be greener elsewhere.