Ayn Rand And Cruelty

Accusations of cruelty are often leveled against Ayn Rand. How accurate is this charge? The answer is a complicated one. One can find traces of both kindness and cruelty in her life/work. Both deserve consideration in formulating a clear perspective.

Let’s examine a case of cruelty first:

“[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using…. What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.” * Source: “Q and A session following her Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974”

Ayn Rand endorses the European conquest and genocide of the Native American population here.

A contrasting example is provided by:

At the time, Rand and husband, Frank O’Connor, lived in a rural area north of Los Angeles, now part of Chatsworth. Rand hired Haruno as a cook—even though June says her mother couldn’t cook very well and in spite of Rand already having a cook. Ryoji was also hired to help Frank with the flowers that he grew on the property—even though Mr. Kato had no previous experience gardening. Ten-year-old Ken was a bit young to be hired for anything. As for June, though she had just graduated high school, and had no experience, Rand hired her as well, to come to the house every weekend and do typing. In addition to paying a salary to June, Ryoji and Haruno, Rand also gave the family two rooms in her house so they had a place to live. Damn, apparently she didn’t know that generosity was against her own philosophy. No one told her. But then, she was such a monster, who would dare? In addition to the Kato family another resident in Rand’s home was Maria Strachova, an elderly refugee who had taught English to Rand as a child. Rand took her in for a year.

Ayn Rand performs acts of kindness and geneorosity here.

Which one is the real Rand? Both. She was a complicated human being like the rest of us.

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