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evidences against the claim that Rand was dogmatic

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This is such a common claim by would be AR hateraders that I feel it should be addressed.

-she once wanted to (did?) smoke marijuana

-she continued to promote Patterson's and Mises's work despite their differences

-she allowed Rothbard back into her discussion groups despite a previous break

-she admired philosophers Locke, Aquinas, the FF's, etc. in spite of their religiosity

-she considered homosexuals she knew to be objectivists, despite her dislike of their sexuality

I was particularly glad to hear read this fact..I'm not gay still Ayn Rand's hostility towards

homosexuality had always bothered me. I found this out from her wikipedia page.

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Was that Nathaniel Brandon?

I just find this whole idea of dogmatism silly. If someone believes something of course they are going to think they are right. Especially if they happened to be the originator of a whole new system of beliefs. It would be dishonest for someone to say "Oh I have only been working on this and preaching this for the last four decades, but of course I may be wrong". I don't think anyone who writes books and speaks about their ideas all the time can't rightfully claim uncertantity. That sort of claim is cowardly in my opinion because it is just a way of attempting to assert one's conclusions without taking responsibility for them.

In addition to this Ayn Rand never said anything along the lines of "I am right because I am right", or "If you do not already know, you will not understand". She often asserted things without providing all the concievable evidence that could be provided, but I understand that she was relying on the reader's honest review of experience to maker her point for her.

In addition to this, many of her comments were just that, comments. They were not meant to be taken in the same way as he non-fiction books. So comments about homosexuals, all contemperary composers being terrible, and so forth are just things she honestly thought but had no intnetion of going about proving it for others.

If someone wanted to prove that Ayn Rand was dogmatic they would have to find an example of her clearly loosing an argument but refusing to admit it.

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hey Hairnet, I think you said that very well, regarding dogmatism, and specifically accusations of Rand's so-called dogmatism.

Yes, that is Branden.

OP, a good idea, but just a suggestion: perhaps framing the topic a little more widely would draw more interest.

I've always been fascinated by Rand's warm, human side - her apparently girlish innocence - with snippets of personal information (like her 'tiddley-wink' music.)

And I read somewhere way back, how pleased she was about the huge public response to The Fountainhead; even flattered that a professional poker player loved her writing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is such a common claim by would be AR hateraders that I feel it should be addressed.

-she once wanted to (did?) smoke marijuana

-she continued to promote Patterson's and Mises's work despite their differences

-she allowed Rothbard back into her discussion groups despite a previous break

This is a good argument, I think, depending on your audience.

More sophisticated critics won't be affected by it. They would say that Rand started out very open and gradually became dogmatic, shunning the people you list. In Goddess of the Market (p. 188), Jennifer Burns makes a distinction between earlier, more open Rand, and later, isolated Rand:

The long years of labor on Atlas Shrugged, the stress of her relationship with Nathan and her disappointment in Frank, regular drug use and unhealthy personal habits, all had culminated in a mental rigidity that increasingly defined Rand. She was even unwilling to acknowledge her own intellectual development, releasing an edited version of We the Living in 1959 that erased any passages at odds with Objectivism. For years she had sealed herself off from all outside influences save Nathan and Leonard, and it was now impossible for her to communicate with contemporaries. The woman who had written long demonstrative letters to Isabel Paterson and Rose Wilder Lane, trying her best to understand and be understood, had vanished forever.

This gels with the approach that some other critics of Rand take. For example, Daniel Barnes says that, "From the previews of the forthcoming bio by Anne Heller, "Ayn Rand And The World She Made" the basic thesis seems to be that Rand gradually invented her own reality; that she came to live in a kind of solipsistic world of her own. If this is the case, I would agree" (source).

But maybe you knew all of this, and you're not trying to convince the more sophisticated critics. In that case, the argument is fine. (It's possible that the sophisticated critics are biased and can't be convinced anyway.)

-she admired philosophers Locke, Aquinas, the FF's, etc. in spite of their religiosity

Yep.

-she considered homosexuals she knew to be objectivists, despite her dislike of their sexuality

I was particularly glad to hear read this fact..I'm not gay still Ayn Rand's hostility towards homosexuality had always bothered me. I found this out from her wikipedia page.

Could you provide a link? I couldn't find this on the Wikipedia pages for Ayn Rand or Objectivism. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places.

You could use her incredible performance in debates as evidence. The three biographies of her which I have read all attest to her persuasive power in person, and one can see it in her recorded interviews on Youtube and in her articles. She didn't simply assert her position. She argued for it, and she argued well. That's not what a dogmatic person does.

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I apologise if this takes the post away from the OP's original intent.. I didn't catch this topic when it first went up.

But my first thought in reading this is that properly no one is required to prove/defend a negative.

The best way to go about this would be for the person claiming that Rand is dogmatic to state their evidence that she is- to be refuted by the person claiming she isn't.

This distiction seems important to me.

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What would make someone dogmatic if you ask me would be ignoring facts/evidence that are presented to them when it contradicts their firmly held views. Like insisting the Sun revolves around the Earth even after being shown the logical problems of that model.

Rand did not do this to my knowledge. I did hear Bioishock designer Ken Levine say she ignored evidence about the genocide of native Americans, specifically as detailed in that book that has lots of Ayn Rand interviews (not Objectively Speaking, the other one), because it contradicted some belief about civilisations. But I don't have that book so I can't verify that personally.

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