Rand and Romando massacre have something in common
Did anyone else notice the pairing in your September 13 print edition that assembles a hypothesis:
Cause: Essayist's defense of Ayn Rand's proto-philosophy ["Ayn Rand: Her detractors miss her stellar vision"] that states that the individual should never subordinate self-interests to any collective, not national patriotism, not religious creed, not standards and rules of community, not family affection or duty.
Effect: The teachings of a group that fascinated a young murderer ["Three notes: Source says Romando purchased gun, left letters"]: "We believe in indulgence, self-preservation, and individuality," says Schroeder [spokesperson for the group].
The young murderer showed no signs of mental illness, was regularly in church, and appeared to be succeeding with education. And he was fascinated with a philosophy of self-indulgence, self-preservation, and individuality.
The essayist even mentions that among the reasons for Rand's continuing popularity is youthful fascination: "Rand appeals to adolescents who think they're self-sufficient, special, and destined for great achievement. Yet surely the world would be poorer– materially and spiritually– without people who carry some of that "spirit of youth."
The spirit of some youth turns toward self-indulgent murder. And, so, another pairing: Ms. Rand expressed a nearly praising fascination with a notorious, sexually-sadistic child rapist/murderer who cut off a child's limbs, gutted the child, and– apparently to add flair to the act of his triumphant individuality– sewed the dead girl's eyes open.
Perhaps the young murderer in our community never read Ms. Rand. But, the extravagant popularity of her work– including by Honorable Paul Ryan, who offered a long praise of Rand at an official tribute to her as a Congressman (no longer a young high schooler in Wisconsin)– has perhaps influenced our culture that so frequently and lucratively pairs youth and self-indulgence.
What about this hypothesis?
One last note: the essayist is disastrously wrong that "individual autonomy... gave us freedom and human rights." Where is any citation for this assertion? Certainly not in Ayn Rand, who would have considered human rights organizations, human rights treaties, and human rights advocates to be the very devil.
There are many sources for thinking about human rights. The authors of American Independence found the source in an appeal to the Creator. The authors of the American Constitution found the source in 'We the People.' The founders of human rights in other histories discussed other sources: in Buddhist nonviolence, in the goal of social equity, in anti-Colonialism, in rights of humanity to health, education, security, and other common goods. Never in individual autonomy.