The Puzzle that is Ayn Rand

An Ethical Dilemma Finally Resolved

All the ethicists agree we should give bread to the hungry man, even though they all have different reasons for doing so. Except Ayn Rand…

(the hover text: This is a strawman of Ayn Rand. She would have paid Augustine a fair price for that bread before throwing it in the trash.)

An Ethical Dilemma Finally Resolved - Existential Comics

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I love how they stand and argue and the poor guy never does get any bread.

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It does seem like Rand wins. Everyone wants to help the poor man, but she does not and she gets her way.

In the credits it reads, “No homeless people were harmed in the drawing of this comic.” :slight_smile:


I think I’m most strongly aligned with virtue ethics. I do not think the end justifies the means. Perhaps some virtues, however, might enable us to walk through the mud while maintaining our integrity. Our intentions are at least as important as the results and the means:


I once read an article by the founder of a private school in the states, Van Damme Academy, who wrote that she was very influenced by Rand’s epistemology. Can’t find the article anymore - just the school website - but it seems like the author was approaching her school by very intentionally breaking down concepts and figuring out the best order to teach things to maximize understanding, which I think makes a lot of sense.

So while I can’t really say I agree with Rand on ethics, maybe she has some good stuff to say about epistemology. I haven’t had a chance to really look into her writings, however.


How can one not quote John Rogers:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

For instance:
Stephen Colbert loved The Lord of the Rings.
Paul Ryan loved Ayn Rand’s books.