Objectively Wrong: Fun Facts With Lindsay PerigoPosted: August 30, 2010
There is a thing in ideological debates called the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. It usually shows up when something embarrassing happens which undermines one person’s argument; and it goes like this:
“Look at these Sassenach louts drinking and fighting and mugging old ladies! No Scotsman would do such a thing. Well, no true Scotsman.”
I mention this because a funny thing happened today on the way to the blogosphere. Matt McCarten in the Herald On Sunday:
ACT was founded on the odious principle that human greed is the driving force of human progress and is to be celebrated as some sort of religion. The cultists worship at the altar of their prophet, Ayn Rand, and delude themselves if everyone only focuses on getting what they want, then somehow this is good for everyone.
Those of us who have had kids expect them to grow out of their selfish stage by the age of 3. But it seems the disciples of Act missed their parents’ lessons, growing up believing they are entitled to do whatever they like. There is no morality. They dress it up as neo-liberal or libertarian politics. But it’s just a cover to justify their avarice.
Apparently-full-time Objectivist blogger Lindsay Perigo responds:
I’ve known many Actors over the years, including the leads, and I can’t think of one, alas, who “worships at the altar of Ayn Rand.” (I can think of one, a major funder, who possessed a copy of Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness, but didn’t want anyone to know, so hid it.)
It’s true that Act the parliamentary party is now a disparate bunch of single-issue waifs and strays. It’s true equally that they’re authoritarian, statist waifs and strays, with whom McCarten has a great deal in common. If by sophisticated liberalism McCarten means libertarianism, and if by that he means Randian individualism, then the idea that Act is or ever was a Randian party with which he is intractably at odds is laughable.
It just so happens that I was in Rodney Hide’s office last fortnight to cover the whole fiasco, and guess what I saw?
I hope Perigo decides to let Hide back into the fold rather than quibble over how he’s a real Randian because real Randians die of emphysema in honour of Prometheus or something. After all, definitions are the guardians of rationality; the first line of defense against the chaos of mental disintegration.
Socrates said that, I think.