Neo-Objectivism covers a large family of philosophical viewpoints and cultural values derived from but not necessarily in agreement with Objectivist philosophy. Various, sometimes logically incompatible, viewpoints have been described as "Neo-Objectivist," provided that they are substantially similar to the viewpoints endorsed by Objectivist philosophy. However, some adherents to
Ayn Rand's Objectivism, viewing it as an integrated system, strongly disagree and disavow any deviations from her philosophy's principles; they do not consider the term "Neo-Objectivist" to be an accurate description of any philosophic system.
Neo-Objectivists typically agree with Objectivists on certain core values. They typically emphasize the importance of
reasonand the acceptance of reality, and they support individualism, egoism, enlightened self-interest, and capitalism. However, Neo-Objectivists also depart from orthodox Objectivists (including Ayn Rand) on some issues.
Some Neo-Objectivists stick relatively close to Objectivism, merely rejecting (for example) Rand’s "life-to-value" argument in ethics,
Leonard Peikoff’s analyses of cognitive error and the nature of moral evil, Rand’s views about human psychology, or Rand’s views on the philosophy of art. Among these is Tibor R. Machan, the author of "Ayn Rand" (Peter Lang, 2001) and "Objectivity" (Ashgate, 2004). Some don’t reject Objectivist doctrine "per se", but they reject the way that some orthodox Objectivists apply the doctrine to real life situations. Other Neo-Objectivists depart much further from Rand’s philosophy; some emphasize the values of being open-minded, tolerant, and flexible, and consequently consider themselves to be more pragmatic than orthodox Objectivists. Some Neo-Objectivists are anarcho-capitalistsrather than minarchists.
Some Neo-Objectivists think that
spiritualityor acceptance of the supernaturalis compatible with Objectivism. Consequently, some are agnosticrather than atheistic, while others embrace modified forms of Buddhismand Paganism(seeing these as having components compatible with Objectivist ideals). Anton LaVeyhas described his Satanism as "just Ayn Rand's philosophy with ceremony and ritual added;" [cite web | url=http://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/mjr/lewis2.html | title=Who Serves Satan? A Demographic and Ideological Profile | author=James R. Lewis | accessdate=2008-02-01] however, this claim is considered erroneous by Objectivist and Neo-Objectivist thinkers, and many of his followers are unfamiliar with Rand. [cite web | url=http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=3380 | title="Satanism and Objectivism"—An Objectivist's Response | author=Andrew Russell | accessdate=2008-02-01]
Kelley, Branden, and Rand
There is no self-identified "Neo-Objectivist movement". Nonetheless, many people refer to themselves as "Neo-Objectivists", without being specific about what this entails. Some refer to
David Kelleyas the first Neo-Objectivist, because he argued that Objectivism is an "open system". Kelley, though, has never used this label to describe himself: he merely says that he is an Objectivist, an advocate of "reason, individualism, achievement, and capitalism."
Ayn Rand's collaborator
Nathaniel Branden, who was instrumental in launching the Objectivist movementin the 1960s, has said that Rand herself viewed Objectivism as an open system. He noted, [cite web | url=http://web.archive.org/web/20000819131123/http://www.dailyobjectivist.com/Connect/whoownsobjectivism.asp | title="Who Owns Objectivism?" | author=Nathaniel Branden | accessdate=2008-01-02]
Were Ayn Rand alive today, obviously she would have the right to say, "Do not describe as 'Objectivism' any viewpoint I disagree with." But when her agreement or disagreement is no longer possible, we are on our own to judge what is or is not compatible with Objectivism—and that could include even challenging some position of Rand's which we believe to be in conflict with her more fundamental premises."
In answer to whether Objectivism is a philosophic system open to change, interpretation and alteration, Ayn Rand herself once said, "There is nothing wrong in using ideas, anybody's ideas. Provided that you give appropriate credit, you can make any mixture of ideas that you want; the contradiction will be yours. But why do you need the name of someone (or their philosophy) with whom you do not agree in order to spread your misunderstandings—or worse, your nonsense and falsehoods?" [Citation | author=Ayn Rand | title="The Moratorium on Brains" | journal=The Ford Hall Forum | year=1971 annual lecture (question-and-answer period).]
* Neo-Tech philosophy considers itself a "dynamic" form of Objectivism.
Fellowship of Reasonapplies Objectivist insights into ethics and spirituality within the framework of a "moral community".
* [http://enlightenment.supersaturated.com/essays/text/davesaum/essence.html Rethinking the Essence of Objectivism] — a Neo-Objectivist essay
* [http://www.asubnews.com ASP | Libertarian News] A journal of neo-objectivist as well as libertarian thought.
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20010720170150/http://dailyobjectivist.com/ The Daily Objectivist] — a Neo-Objectivist Newsletter
* [http://www.objectivistcenter.org/ The Objectivist Center] — considered by some to be a Neo-Objectivist organization
* [http://folk.uio.no/thomas/po/articles.html POP Culture: Premises of Post-Objectivism] — considers Ayn Rand’s philosophy as a starting point for development
* [http://www.objectivistliving.com Objectivist Living] — an Objectivist community dedicated to Ayn Rand and the "art of living consciously"
* [http://www.neo-tech.com/neotech/prosperity/objectivism.html "Liberating Objectivism: The Liberation Manifesto"] by
Frank R. Wallace— argues that the worldwide spread of Objectivism has been hampered by an "obstructionist leadership"
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