Ayn Rand: Quote of the Day

There are two different kinds of subjectivism, distinguished by their answers to the question: whose consciousness creates reality? Kant rejected the older of these two, which was the view that each man’s feelings create a private universe for him. Instead, Kant ushered in the era of social subjectivism—the view that it is not the consciousness of individuals, but of groups, that creates reality. In Kant’s system, mankind as a whole is the decisive group; what creates the phenomenal world is not the idiosyncrasies of particular individuals, but the mental structure common to all men.

Later philosophers accepted Kant’s fundamental approach, but carried it a step further. If, many claimed, the mind’s structure is a brute given, which cannot be explained—as Kant had said—then there is no reason why all men should have the same mental structure. There is no reason why mankind should not be splintered into competing groups, each defined by its own distinctive type of consciousness, each vying with the others to capture and control reality.

The first world movement thus to pluralize the Kantian position was Marxism, which propounded a social subjectivism in terms of competing economic classes. On this issue, as on many others, the Nazis follow the Marxists, but substitute race for class.

The Ominous Parallels

Leonard Peikoff,

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