Ayn Rand Institute

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Mon, 19 Feb 1996 11:06:06 -0500

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 (www.aynrand.org) 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 (info@aynrand.org).

Ronald Kephart
Dept of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL USA 32224-2645
Phone: (904) 646-2580
E-mail: rkephart@osprey.unf.edu