Friday, September 14, 2007
Many thanks to those who sent readers to yesterday's post on the Kay Hymowitz hatchet job or posted their own comments here or at other blogs.
The Hymowitz editorial was in one sense very difficult to address and in another sense very easy. Its difficulty rested in the fact that Hymowitz committed numerous errors and basically threw every conservative smear and libertarian cliche she could at Ayn Rand. Where does one begin?
The ease rested with the fact that for her attack to be effective, it had to have a point. Those in public education who make her career as a writer possible still do have some work cut out for them. Her central point is what needed to be attacked and what dictated how to attack it.
Needless to say, there remained lots of room for further commentary, which several others undertook. Most notably, (1) Allen, Rational Jenn, and some commenters at Noodle Food take issue with Hymowitz's ridiculous assertion that Ayn Rand regarded the family as a "soul-killing prison", (2) Joseph Kellard picks apart some of the points I passed over in a comment here and posts an address at his blog to which readers can send letters to the editor of Commentary magazine (where the Hymowitz piece originally appeared), and (3) Qwertz comments on Hymowitz's "factual and interpretive errors". From that last:
Hymowitz commits many of the same errors that are de rigeur for the Libertarians she finds so amoral. Integration by nonessentials. Argumentum ad populum. Affirming the consequent. Substituting a definition of a concept for the concept itself. And of course, my old favorite, failure to recognize the ought in an is. [bold added]It is indicative of Ayn Rand's increasing cultural influence that articles like this appear from time to time. And yet, such articles -- with Ayn Rand's friends around to defend her -- also represent opportunities to increase that influence.
As someone who first became interested in Ayn Rand because of someone writing something like this, I see such malfeasance for what it is: Yet another opportunity to set the record straight, and thereby introduce even more thinking people to the work of this highly original intellectual.
Today: Rational Jenn, mother and Objectivist, has posted something about what Ayn Rand actually has said about family.
9-17-07: Craig Biddle of The Objective Standard weighs in. I agree that Hymowitz owes a public apology for this -- erm -- piece of work.