Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Objectivist Answers

By the way, have you seen the new Objectivist Answers site? It's a new site where anyone can ask a question about Objectivism and Ayn Rand, and Objectivists will answer the questions.

Good answers (and questions) get voted up and notsogood ones get voted down. The more you vote and comment, the more karma* points you earn! It's knowledge + fun + friendly competition! What's not to like?

I've asked and answered only a few questions. This is my most popular answer so far, to the question: "Did Ayn Rand have something against children?"

Though children did not figure prominently in any of her novels, that does not imply that Ayn Rand was hostile toward children or family.
Consider this passage from Atlas Shrugged, referring to two children being raised in the Gulch, by a woman who has chosen to move her family to a place so that she can raise her children as she wants to:
The recaptured sense of her [Dagny's] own childhood kept coming back to her whenever she met the two sons of the young woman who owned the bakery shop. . . . They did not have the look she had seen in the children of the outer world--a look of fear, half- secretive, half-sneering, the look of a child's defense against an adult, the look of a being in the process of discovering that he is hearing lies and of learning to feel hatred. The two boys had the open, joyous, friendly confidence of kittens who do not expect to get hurt, they had an innocently natural, non-boastful sense of their own value and as innocent a trust in any stranger's ability to recognize it, they had the eager curiosity that would venture anywhere with the certainty that life held nothing unworthy of or closed to discovery, and they looked as if, should they encounter malevolence, they would reject it contemptuously, not as dangerous, but as stupid, they would not accept it in bruised resignation as the law of existence.
When I think of how I want to raise my own children, I always think of creating an environment and parenting them in a way so that they can recognize their own value, and have the "open, joyous and friendly confidence of kittens" that these two fictional children described above possess. I think this passage shows Ayn Rand's benevolence toward children and family. Though she did not choose to have children of her own (lots of people don't!) and didn't choose to write books about or for children (lots of authors don't!), I have never viewed her as hostile to children and family.
For more on this subject, see my posts Mythbusting: Ayn Rand, Mommies and Children and More from Ayn Rand about Childhood.

If you like that answer, vote for it (ahem, hint hint)! If you're an Objectivist and want to add your own take on this very common question, go for it! If you are not an Objectivist and want to ask another question, well then, you know what to do. :o) 

Since the site launched, the number of questions and answers has exploded. Very cool. I'd love to answer more questions about parenting and kids, and maybe some on homeschooling and literature and poetry and economics and how to fix bad premises in your head, and oh, lots of topics! And I'm very much enjoying reading (and voting) the questions and answers so far on the site. So interesting and great food for thought.

So stop on by, and don't forget to vote for MEEEEEEEEEEE! :o)

*No, not real karma--it's a joke, see?

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