adamsmithsghost (adamsmithsghost) wrote in ljphilosophy,


Randaphobia: Behavior that reveals unreasoning fear of and hostility toward Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and individuals who express agreement with the tenets of Objectivism. Objectivists see Randaphobia as evidence of the power and relevance of Objectivism, because those affected by it would not devote passion and energy to reviling a weak or irrelevant philosophy; they would instead either ignore it, or calmly point out perceived errors and move on.

Symptoms of Randaphobia include but are not limited to the following:

*The belief that it is acceptable behavior to abandon all civility in discourse with any individual who agrees with elements of Objectivism.

*When discussing anything related to Objectivism, the substitution of sneering, insults, ridicule, dismissiveness, patronizing, sarcasm, and similar rhetorical devices for reasoned and civil discourse.

*An obsessive focus on biographical details or supposed personality defects of Ayn Rand, rather than the ideas developed by Ayn Rand.

*The belief that one can discuss or challenge the philosophy of Objectivism without ever having read Ayn Rand, in particular her major philosophical works (Atlas Shrugged), or having made any serious effort to understand them.

*The refusal to seriously engage the substance of Objectivist ideas, instead focusing on mischaracterizations and myths about those ideas.

*The ascribing of malevolent motives to those who agree with elements of Objectivism.

*(In academics,) acting contrary to professed principles of promoting "tolerance," "critical thinking" and "openness to alternative viewpoints" by shutting down any discussion of Objectivism (in extreme cases even any mention of it), or inflicting the above behaviors on students who are sympathetic with the philosophy of Objectivism.

Those affected by Randaphobia may exhibit some or all of these symptoms. Its most virulent form is exhibited by academics who have the intellectual tools to seriously engage and address the issues raised by Objectivism, but choose instead to respond to Objectivism with behaviors such as those listed above.

There is no known cure for Randaphobia. In many cases individuals cure themselves through further study, thought and discourse with others, or by gaining a deeper appreciation of the importance of civility in intellectual discourse. However, is not well understood why some do and some do not effect a cure in themselves, and no consistently efficacious treatment has been discovered.

Randaphobia is indicated when the subject exhibits a proclivity to make assertions such as the following:

"I'm not afraid of Objectivism, I just think it's stupid."

"I'm not afraid of Objectivism, I just think its unnatural."

"I'm not afraid of Objectivism, I just think it's disgusting."

"I'm not afraid of Objectivism, I just think it's evil."

"I'm not afraid of Objectivism, I just think its adherents are motivated by malice."

It is usually not the case, for Randaphobic persons, that the basis of their attitudes towards Objectivism is rational reasoning, or intellectual argumentation. Therefore, by definition one will not see statements like these from Randaphobes:

"I believe that premise 'X' of Objectivism is erroneous, because premise 'Y' is the correct one, based on the following observations about reality . . ."

"There is an error in the logic of Objectivism in argument 'A.' The next logical inference in this string is not 'B,' but 'C'."

Important note: Those who merely disagree with Objectivism are not the same as Randaphobes. Further, those who disagree with Objectivism and choose not to explain this are not Randaphobic, unless they have made a relevant assertion in a philosophical discussion that requires justification. (Refusing to explain in that context could be the "passive-aggressive" variety of Randaphobia; misunderstandings are common and so practitioners must exercise caution in making inferences regarding such behavior, however.)

Readers are invited to add to the list of symptoms or otherwise modify this definition in Wikipedia fashion. Perhaps the definition will be added to Wikipedia at some point. The author has made some small effort to avoid the use of normative terms in this, but has little doubt that some value judgments were nevertheless imported.
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