Reason as the Leading Motive

The Terror of Increasing Freedom

Posted by Jerry on October 17, 2007

From the Atlasphere Meta-blog

Ayn Rand is extremely popular in India, but not with student Indira Dammu:

On my daily walk to class, I am taunted by chalkings that declare obscure statements such as “Who is John Galt?” Undoubtedly the handiwork of some pretentious “free-thinking” student group, these chalkings echo a disturbing trend among college students to identify themselves as libertarians.

Why don’t people like her choose to migrate to some socialist heaven, where income is distributed from each according to his ability to each according to his need, where a set of staple foods is rationed to long waiting lines of people, where goods and services are distributed among people not in exchange for value or currency but in response to need?

Why are such articles written by neo-Marxists (and Rawlsians) who choose to live in the most capitalist nation in the world?


5 Responses to “The Terror of Increasing Freedom”

  1. NS said

    Someone should tell Josh Zader that this story is written by a student in INDIANA (Bloomington), not India.

  2. Indira Dammu said

    Your post completely misrepresents my column. Have you even read the whole thing? Because if you did, then you wouldn’t accuse me of being a socialist or neo-Marxists.
    It seems that when libertarians/conservatives/objectivists have no suitable response to the ideas presented, they resort to name-calling. That’s unfortunate.

  3. Ergo said


    I think he knows that Indira Dammu is a student in Indiana. He happens to bring the Indian connection only because he assumes (rightly, I believe) that Indira is of Indian origin.

    [P.S. Noumenal, I just received an e-mail from Josh confirming your suspicion; he did indeed think that Indira was a student in India. 🙂 Well, I don’t believe it’s a big deal either way.]


    Disavowing a “label” does not actually change the essential identity of your views, which are indeed modern, palatable, Rawlsian variations of socialism. This fact can be proved philosophically, if you choose to state your premises.

  4. […] on the Terror of increasing freedom and John […]

  5. Ms. Dammu:

    In your article, you have said Objectivism can be closely equated with Libertarianism.

    Objectivism is a philosophy of reason whereas Libertarianism is a political movement whose members claim to hold liberty as a primary goal without first understanding what liberty is, why one should value it, and how it is related to reason.

    Given the above, what is your basis for equating Objectivism with Libertarianism?

    Also, you have indicated that it’s wrong to live in your own selfish interest while ignoring the needs of others.

    The man who lives for his own selfish interest is the man who values others who are worth valuing by his own standards. He finds them worthy of value because they enrich his own life.

    And, yes, he will help them if they need and seek his help. Because by helping them in times of need, he’s furthering those values that make his life worth living.

    The crucial difference between a man who lives for his own selfish interest and the man who lives for the needs of others can be grasped from the following example (a similar example is given by Ayn Rand in The Virtue of Selfishness):

    Suppose a man who loves his wife deeply has to choose between spending his entire savings for an operation that can save her from a fatal disease and spending his money to save some random stranger’s wife from the same illness.

    If the man lives for his own selfish interest, he will ignore the need of the stranger’s wife and do everything within his power to save his own wife because she’s a profound value to him.

    Whereas, if the man lives for the needs of others, he will ignore his own wife’s need and do everything within his power to save the stranger’s wife because she means nothing to him!

    So living for the needs of others means sacrificing those whom one values for the sake of those whom one does not.

    Given the above, by what standard is it wrong to live for one’s own selfish interest and not for the needs of others?

    Living in society is beneficial to Man because it enables him to pursue his values much more efficiently than if he were living alone on an island. But if the government in such a society is forcing a man to give up his own values for the needs of others, in what way is it promoting a just society?

    Justice means dealing with others in accordance with what they deserve, not what they need. But to practice justice, one should first be free to independently judge what others deserve and what they don’t.

    So forcing a man to fulfill the needs of others apart from and against his own judgment, is not a manifestation of justice but a blatant violation of it.

    Ramesh Kaimal

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