The ‘Ayn Rand Institute’ Is Neoconservative (Denials Notwithstanding)

Ayn Rand’s Political Label

In 1985, three years after Ayn Rand’s death, some of her former associates founded what they called the Ayn Rand Institute. It soon became apparent that the views of these “official” Objectivists on many of the most important issues of the day were indistinguishable from those of the Neoconservatives. For example, in response to Iranian clerics’ 1989 attack on Salman Rushdie and his publishers – an attack that proved ineffectual in the U.S. and was primarily an immigration problem – Leonard Peikoff urged that the U.S. take military action against Iran (“Religious Terrorism vs. Free Speech” New York Times 30 March 1989).  In “What to Do about Terrorism” (The Intellectual Activist May 1996) – that is, what to do about terrorism overseas – Mr. Piekoff wanted President Clinton to threaten Tehran with “the most massive air and missile attack that our military can launch.” [1]

In response to 9/11 Ayn Rand Institute writers immediately urged bombing Iran, with the rallying cry “We are all Israelis now.” Quickly realizing the political inexpediency of bombing Iran they switched their target to Iraq. After getting that war they’re back to bombing Iran.

ARI writers support the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and other rents in the American fabric, by a refined silence. They demand that the U.S. government support Israel unquestioningly. They advocate U.S. torture as a moral imperative. Name a particular political stand of theirs and chances are you’ll find it in Norman Podhoretz or Irving Kristol.

Thus going on thirty years leading Objectivists, unmoored from what they claim is their source (Ayn Rand believe it or not), have been following the Neocon path in foreign policy and related domestic policy. An entire generation has grown up thinking Objectivists must be little better than Neoconservatives, because these days the leading, self-proclaimed, Objectivists are little better than Neoconservatives. [2]

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From ARI Watch, here.

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