Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ayn Rand on C.S. Lewis

From "Ayn Rand Really, Really Hated C.S. Lewis":
Ayn Rand was no fan of C.S. Lewis. She called the famous apologist an "abysmal bastard," a "monstrosity," a "cheap, awful, miserable, touchy, social-metaphysical mediocrity," a "pickpocket of concepts," and a "God-damn, beaten mystic." (I suspect Lewis would have particularly relished the last of these.)

These insults and more can be found in her marginal notes on a copy of Lewis' Abolition of Man, as printed in Ayn Rand's Marginalia: Her critical comments on the writings of over 20 authors, edited by Robert Mayhew. Excerpts appear below, with Lewis' writing (complete with Rand's highlighting and underlining) on the left and Rand's notes on the right.
Two examples:
Either we are rational spirit obliged for ever to obey the absolute values of the Tao, or else we are mere nature to be kneaded and cut into new shapes for the pleasures of masters who must, by hypothesis, have no motive but their own ‘natural’ impulses. Only the Tao provides a common human law of action which can over-arch rulers and ruled alike. A dogmatic belief in objective value is necessary to the very idea of a rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery. The lousy bastard who is a pickpocket of concepts, not a thief, which is too big a word for him. Either we are mystics of spirit or mystics of muscle – reason? who ever heard of it?– such as in the Middle Ages?
You cannot go on ‘explaining away’ for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see some­thing through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? It is no use trying to ‘see through’ first principles. If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see. The abysmal caricature who postures as a “gentle­man and a scholar” treats sub­jects like these by means of a corner lout’s equivocation on “seeing through.”! By “seeing through,” he means “rational understanding”!


Oh,BS! – and total BS!
[more]
Ayn Rand, avatar of Reason!