Is this FBI file pertaining to Ayn Rand for real? It seems to contain some letters between Ayn Rand’s attorney and the FBI, a letter from Ayn Rand to J Edgar Hoover, plus miscellaneous news articles and the like. (A kind NoodleFood reader sent me the link.)
The file does contain a strange but entertaining letter from a critic of Objectivism on pages 24 and 25. The unknown author strenuously objects to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, particularly her view of money as good and of reality as objective. He’s particularly disturbed by the great difficulty of logically critiquing her views. (“If you do not accept the tenets of the doctrine [of Objectivism, particularly that money is good and that reality is objective] you begin to have serious trouble with your mental attitudes and thinking. This should be the first clue to you that there is something inherently wrong with it.”)
However, he does manage to “refute” the notion of an mind-independent reality as follows: “Perception is a thought process; thoughts are subjective and internal not objective and external. If you define your reality as being only that which you perceive thought your senses then you are denying your own internal existence and denying the existence of thought because thought is not perceived it is subjectively understood. All of your perceptions are internal and subjective and your thoughts about these things constitute your reality.” (And he accuses Ayn Rand of “doubletalk”!)
He seems to think that belief in objective reality will lead to altruism and collectivism: “If Miss Rand’s rational self-interest can enure you to believe intellectually that all reality is external and perceived then denial of your non-perceivable self will be quite logical. The step from this to that of being a completely altruistic, thought slave, worker of the ‘people’s republic’ with complete denial of individuality is an easy one.” So perhaps it’s not all that surprising that he suspects that she might still be a communist: “Miss Rand’s extrovertive espousal of arch-capitalism evidenced by her statement, ‘Money is the root of all good.’ seems to place her in a definite anti-communist position — or so she would have us believe.” Toward the end of the letter, he hints at the same with “If Miss Rand is not a communist as she says she is not, then she has been lead down the rosy path and is guilty of very incomplete thinking, because a careful reader can see the suds still clinging to the brain.” As an aside, the author was clearly make heavy use of a thesaurus to come up with “extrovertive espousal” and other five dollar phrases!)
As the coup de grace, here’s how the letter ends:
Freedom is the right of the individual to react to his perceptions without being restricted to a particular view or a particular reaction.
Physical freedom is impossible without mental freedom.
Objectivism and communism are both mental and physical slavery because they restrict the individual to a particular view.
That’s just too perfect. Communists are slaves to the dictatorship of the proletariat. Objectivists are slaves to reality. It’s all the same, right?