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Kristen Vamsæter

How many Objectivists are there?

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Usually people say, "5,000-6,000." I think that sounds about right. If you want to include "freedom lovers," that number is higher, but still a low population percentage.

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I'd bet it's mostly a "gut" estimate based on years of paying attention to the news and noise that pops up around the web -- who says what, who replies, who belongs to this or that organization.

Before the Internet, you might have counted the number of donors to the ARI, the number of college Objectivist clubs, subscriber info to journals and magazines, university professors and their groups, etc.

Now, you'd go around the web doing the same thing. A lot of stuff is quantified, such as the amount of registered users on our forum. ARI releases numbers, I believe, for things like the number of free Rand novels they've sent to teachers.

It would be easier if there was at least one major statistic to follow, but almost by their individualist nature it's hard to pin Objectivists down.

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Boy, if 6,000 is an accurate topping out mark (sounds right to me), we really are hardly even a drop in the bucket. DX Using 6,000 and 7 billion, we're 0.00008571428571428571 of the population.

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To get a very rough range, you could try starting with some known number (e.g. 7 million Atlas copies sold or 300,000 members in the U.S. Libertarian party) and asking: what fraction of those are likely to be "Objectivists".

Edited by softwareNerd

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Boy, if 6,000 is an accurate topping out mark (sounds right to me), we really are hardly even a drop in the bucket. DX Using 6,000 and 7 billion, we're 0.00008571428571428571 of the population.

But, though "reality is on our side" sounds flippant, it's true -- Objectivist ideas go a lot longer than the crappier ideas laying in the muddy cognitive depths of those magnitudes.

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7 million copies of Atlas Shrugged sold. An estimated 5-6 thousand that it resonates with. This equates to 1 in 150-200 penetration (rounding 166.666 down) or 0.5-0.6%.

 

Rare minds, indeed. Of course, rarity is only one factor that makes something, such as a Rembrandt, desirable.

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To get a very rough range, you could try starting with some known number (e.g. 7 million Atlas copies sold or 300,000 members in the U.S. Libertarian party) and asking: what fraction of those are likely to be "Objectivists".

 

I'd start with what proportion of the population are Atheist, then if there is a political breakdown within the Atheist population we'll have an upper bound for actual Objectivists:  one cannot be agnostic or religious and actually an Objectivist at the same time.

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I'd start with what proportion of the population are Atheist, then if there is a political breakdown within the Atheist population we'll have an upper bound for actual Objectivists:  one cannot be agnostic or religious and actually an Objectivist at the same time.

According to PEW, 1.6% of the population say they're atheists. The population is about 220K to 240K, depending on what age you want to start... 16...18..? Of that, 1.6% would mean that there are about 3.5-3.8 million adult atheists in the U.S.

 

But, it really depends on the purpose of the OP's question. He'd have to figure out who would be "Objectivists" for his purpose.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Facebook has pages for various books. Here are the number of "likes" on some (where there were two for the same book, I assumed double counting and left out the one with the lower count):

  • Atlas: 402 K
  • Fountainhead: 257 K
  • We the Living: 15 K
  • Virtue of Selfishness: 7,500
  • Capitalism the Unknown Ideal: 4,000

The actual number of people who like [as opposed to "FB 'like' "] each book is probably some multiple of the above.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Ayn Rand's Facebook page currently has 459,318 "likes". 

Out of one billion Facebook accounts, about 500,000 seem to lean towards Objectivism (one in every two-thousand  or 0.05%).

 

According to The PEW:

  • 69% of atheists are "leftists"
  • 15% are "rightists"
  • 17% are neither

We all know that the 69% are the Bernie Sanders yuppies, who (despite their atheism) aren't particularly fond of Rand. That leaves somewhere between 15% and 30% pro-Capitalism atheists (depending on what people meant by "neither") which means that around 0.1% to 0.5% of the total population are Capitalistic atheists.

 

This is all very speculative, though.

In the survey, people were asked if they were Christian, Muslim, Hindu, et cetera. Atheism was one of the fringe options (which didn't get its own, unique questions) and Objectivism never came up. As for the Facebook page - the reasons why that's a rough estimate, at best, are obvious. Furthermore, we're not a very visible (if you will) bunch. We're not the ones who march down the street waving our ideas around on flags or track down Ayn Rand's facebook page to voice our approval; we're usually busy with personal stuff (as it should be).

So not only are these people not being counted by any polling centers I know of, they're also uniquely difficult to spot without directly asking them about it.

 

We simply don't know how many of us there are. It's a question nobody's tried to tackle in any scientific manner, yet.

 

Anyone who's willing to pay $30/month on answering that question could easily do so here.

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On 7/6/2016 at 1:17 AM, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Anyone who's willing to pay $30/month on answering that question could easily do so here.

On 08/09/2016 Ayn Rand's Facebook page posted this survey, which should (eventually) yield a much more accurate figure.

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