Re: Ayn Rand Institute

Ruby Rohrlich (rohrlich@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Mon, 19 Feb 1996 20:13:37 -0500

Why not express your own sentiments and beliefs as an individual
anthropologist, post such a message on this list, as an example of how to
deal with their propaganda, starting a new thread. Ruby Rohrlich

On Mon, 19 Feb 1996, Ronald Kephart wrote:

> My fellow hominids,
> A couple of weeks ago I sent a post suggesting that anthropologists should be
> more militant in their response to wrong information about human nature,
> culture, etc. I want to give you an example, and pose a question.
> Last Spring someone passed around on our campus an article by Michael Berliner,
> executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, and Gary Hull of the Claremont
> Graduate School, which accused multiculturalists of being racist. I responded
> via our faculty union's newsletter (appropriate, since "primitive collectivism"
> is one of the things they attacked in the article). Just yesterday I found
> their homepage ( and discovered a version of that article there.
> There's also an article on why Columbus Day should be celebrated; just to whet
> your appetite, here are two excerpts from it:
> "Prior to 1492, what is now the United States was sparsely
> inhabited, unused, and undeveloped. The inhabitants were primarily
> hunter/gatherers, wandering across the land, living from hand to
> mouth and from day to day. There was virtually no change, no
> growth for thousands of years. With rare exception, life was nasty,
> brutish, and short: there was no wheel, no written language, no
> division of labor, little agriculture and scant permanent settlement;
> but there were endless, bloody wars. Whatever the problems it
> brought, the vilified Western culture also brought enormous,
> undreamed-of benefits, without which most of today's Indians
> would be infinitely poorer or not even alive."
> And here's another:
> "Some cultures are better than others: a free society is better than
> slavery; reason is better than brute force as a way to deal with other
> men; productivity is better than stagnation. In fact, Western
> civilization stands for man at his best. It stands for the values that
> make human life possible: reason, science, self- reliance,
> individualism, ambition, productive achievement. The values of
> Western civilization are values for all men; they cut across gender,
> ethnicity, and geography. We should honor Western civilization not
> for the ethnocentric reason that some of us happen to have European
> ancestors but because it is the objectively superior culture."
> My question: Is there an appropriate response to this kind of stuff, and if so
> what is it?? It pisses me off that they have the resources to have a really
> nice-looking web page (I was thinking of asking them for equal time) from which
> to disseminate this stuff. Why can't we, or do we, and I haven't found it?
> What do we do, if anything? Or should I just take an extra dose of
> blood-pressure medication and go about my business?
> BTW, on their page they have a way of sending in comments (
> Ronald Kephart
> Dept of Language & Literature
> University of North Florida
> Jacksonville, FL USA 32224-2645
> Phone: (904) 646-2580
> E-mail: