Ayn Rand preached selfishness is a virtue. Her ideas have caused terrible harm says Tom London.
No doubt, there have always been selfish people, who care only about themselves and who never help or care about anyone else. However, such nasty behaviour has never been encouraged or sanctioned by any major religious or secular system of morality. At least, not until, in the mid-twentieth century, Russian-born American writer and philosopher, Ayn Rand, created Objectivism – what she described as “a new code of morality.”
Contrary to existing ideas of morality and to common sense, Rand preached that selfishness is a virtue and that a person’s only moral obligation is to his own happiness. “Man exists for his own sake, the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.” Altruism, Rand declared, is evil and “the curse of the world”.
Rand’s hatred of altruism and collectivism was probably shaped by her childhood.