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I think Aleph answers this question best: But Rand was sui generis. She was a huge philosophical radical and stunning innovator. Still, I call her an Aristotelian. I think Objectivism is ultimately drawn from bits and pieces of the Greeks (Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics), the Romans (Cicero, Aurelius), the Enlightenment liberals (Locke, Voltaire, Jefferson), and especially the 1900s Austrian economic thinkers -- who covered so much more than mere economics.

Yes, I think this is really the best simple summary. Even geniuses assemble pieces from those who proceed.

Call her Aristotelian if you like, but there really is no direct antecedent to Rand as far as I can tell, just people who contributed the elements from which Rand created.

This makes it all the more strange that "Rand gets no respect" as I wrote in that other thread.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Pre-Ayn Rand? It may not be perfect but I just ran across this quote when reading Henry David Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government" (1846)

Look at this quote:

"The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to—for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well—is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.Note I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to lie aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow men. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which I have also imagined, but not yet anywhere seen."

Interesting, huh?

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