"The Ayn Rand Cult" by Jeff Walker (Peru, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company, 1999)
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I'm concluding research for a lengthy paper on Scientology and stumbled across the above in Barnes and Nobles a few days ago. Here is an interesting quote:
"Letters to the editor in defense of Ayn Rand dismiss her critics not just as 'hoodlums' and 'thugs,' but as cockroaches.' Rand herself deploys 'vermin' in one letter and her orthodox heirs would dismiss Barbara Branden, until late 1968 ranked number three in the Objectivist movement, as 'lice.' Considering that lice and cockroaches are owed no moral consideration, and that in any case, as Nathaniel Branden put it, 'once somebody is declared an *enemy* of Ayn Rand, all morality is suspended,' one shudders at what *some* literal-minded Objectivists might do to an enemy they saw as posing a threat to the future of the Objectivist movement and hence of civilization." (page 18)
Author, Jeff Walker makes the following connections between Objectivism and L Ron Hubbard/Scientology:
"There have been other Ayn Rands, before and after Ayn Rand. throughout this book I draw attention to the striking parallels between Rand and such figures as Mary Baker Eddy, Edward Bellamy, Count Alfred Korzybski, L Ron Hubbard, Werner Erhardt and Bhagwan Rajneesh. The phenomena she represents are common and recurring ones that say a great deal about the nature of individuals and society." (page 4)
"Most of the star gurus, certainly Reverend Moon, L Ron Hubbard, Rajneesh and Werner Erhard were partly innovative and partly syncretic, all to a significant degree breaking with traditional religion, but all offering doctrines which were amalgams of pre-existing traditions...bits and pieces of Objectivism have been around for ages before her (Rand). Rand's - and Branden's - contribution was to select them, string them together and package them for mass consumption." (page 68)
"For many, Rand's Objectivism was a way station between L Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and Werner Erhard's est...not only has the Objectivist movement been a classic cult as defined in the dictionary, it may arguably be viewed as a destructive psychotherapeutic-religious cult..." (page 98)
"Ayn Rand was not the first to propound an ethics for the masses based on survival as a rational being. That honor goes to fellow novelist and cult leader L Ron Hubbard (1911-1986), the science-fiction writer who founded Dianetics and the Church of Scientology. Dianetics preceded NBI's start-up by eight years and the Objectivist ethics by 11 years. Dianetics groups formed on campuses during the 1950's, much as Ayn Rand clubs would in the 1960's. Many who flocked to Objectivism in the 1960's had previously had some contact with Dianetics or Scientology. Dianetics used reasoning somewhat similar to Rand's about the brain as a machine. Hubbard's 'analytical' versus 'reactive' mind has its equivalent in Rand's system. Both have a higher mind reprogramming the rest of the mind. Hubbard and Rand were both extremely intelligence- and survival oriented, in the interest of a rational man. They counseled the uprooting of irrational premises (or 'engrams'). Both contended that the resulting enhanced rationality leads to greater capacity for healthy emotion. Perceptual data is immaculate for both. Both regard our often being unconscious of incoming data as the real problem. After many years of working at it, the student of Dianetics becomes a 'clear,' while the student of Objectivism becomes a full-fledged Objectivist...Both Dianetics and Objectivist psychology draw fire from the psychiatric establishment. The philosophy of each relates immorality to decreasing one's survival potential. Each claims to be science- and logic-based. Both share a benevolent universe premise...Hubbard and Rand are very much against all rule-by-force. Both assert that rational men have no real conflicts of interest. Each deplores social complexity being wielded as an excuse for introducing government regulations when it is the latter that generates the former in a vicious cycle...Each was lambasted by biographers for serious personality problems. And both figures have been denounced by former associates who claim that the leader had feet of clay and the doctrine is detrimental to its adherent's health.
Because Hubbard and Rand shared a number of quirks and basic ideas, it does not follow that their complete philosophies are essentially similar - that is hardly the case. What we can see is that those basic ideas were circulating within the culture of mid-century America and that both figures exemplify the growth of a cult preaching 'rationality'."