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Racism as Collectivism

Yet another thing Rand was good on. No offense quasi-mystical/collectivist types who “take pride in” belonging to ethnic, religious etc. groups like atavistic cavemen.


Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.

Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.

The  Virtue of Selfishness “Racism,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 126.

A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race—and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin.

The  Virtue of Selfishness “Racism,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 127.

Like every other form of collectivism, racism is a quest for the unearned. It is a quest for automatic knowledge—for an automatic evaluation of men’s characters that bypasses the responsibility of exercising rational or moral judgment—and, above all, a quest for an automatic self-esteem (or pseudo-self-esteem).

The  Virtue of Selfishness “Racism,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 127.

Today, racism is regarded as a crime if practiced by a majority—but as an inalienable right if practiced by a minority. The notion that one’s culture is superior to all others solely because it represents the traditions of one’s ancestors, is regarded as chauvinism if claimed by a majority—but as “ethnic” pride if claimed by a minority. Resistance to change and progress is regarded as reactionary if demonstrated by a majority—but retrogression to a Balkan village, to an Indian tepee or to the jungle is hailed if demonstrated by a minority.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Doug Milam April 27, 2010, 2:03 pm

    Thanks; I was not familiar with Rand’s writings on this topic.

    The racial motivations in the mostly white Tea Party movement is a hypothesis worth exploring. At the risk of armchair interpretation, it seems that a few Tea Party types are at least unconsciously motivated by a fear of losing their majority status as the dominant racial group, to wit Janelle Nagy’s reaction to Obama’s election:

    Also in this piece, that “Rick Santelli launched into an impromptu tirade from his regular slot at the Chicago Board of Trade against plans to help struggling homeowners” — rather than against the corrupt politico-financial system — speaks only too well to the strategy of deflecting anger downward, blaming under the breath those subprime brown folks since political correctness no longer allows speaking so bluntly.

    That said, this reaction will surprise many who think that racism is all-prevalent in this movement: NBC Reporter To Black Man At Tea Party: “Have You Ever Felt Uncomfortable?” http://is.gd/byDSG

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