Rand advertisement inconsistent with policy
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Editor's Note: The Notre Dame administration, not The Observer, has set forth a policy prohibiting The Observer from accepting advertisements from groups that espouse principles contrary to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, specifically GALA-ND/SMC. The Observer does not choose this policy for itself.
It is my understanding that The Observer has a policy against printing advertisements from groups advocating views contrary to the teaching of the Church. I was therefore astounded to see an ad in today's Observer from the Ayn Rand Institute, an organization devoted to proselytizing for the "objectivist" philosophy of its namesake. It is hard to imagine a set of values and philosophical beliefs more opposed to those of the Catholic Christian faith than those of this "objectivist" philosophy. Yet The Observer has printed an ad whose aim is to win converts in the Notre Dame community to this belief.
A brief visit to the website mentioned in The Observer ad will show that according to Rand: "Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason." Rand's rejection of God results, as Saint Augustine would have predicted, in an ethical system which elevates the individual human being to the status of God, the source of all value, and treats Pride, which Augustine identified as the root of all evil, as a virtue: "The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics — the standard by which one judges what is good or evil — is man's life ... The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics — the three values which, together, are the means to and the realization of one's ultimate value, one's own life — are: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride."
As to that greatest of Christian virtues, charity, Rand says: "My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong with helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue."
There is no question here of the thought that all others, as children of God, are equally worthy of our care and concern. I could go on, but anyone can visit the website and see for themselves.
Given that the objectivist ad was printed in The Observer, I see only two possible conclusions: Either the administration's censors were napping, or in fact there is only a ban against groups who say the wrong things on certain very specific issues much less clearly central to the faith than the issues on which Rand and the objectivists disagree with the Church's teaching.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
October 28, 1999
All Viewpoint Stories for Friday, October 29, 1999