Dr. Shades wrote:
The philosophy is repelling; an arch-libertarian and hedonistic view of the world where everything goes as long as it meets one's object. I mean -- everything; destroying others' lives, cheating and adultery -- it goes.
If that's actually the case, then she changed her mind by the time Atlas Shrugged
saw print. She saw every transaction as a trade of value-for-value among equals. The last half of the oath that the strikers took was, ". . . nor ask that any other man live for the sake of mine." In other words, they pledged not to subjugate another for the sake of the self. Have you even read Atlas Shrugged?
The truth is somewhere inbetween here. Rand believed you should do whatever meets your own interests. She thought you were morally obligated to act in your own interest at all times. If that included cheating, then cheat away. She also happened to argue that it made sense to refrain from things like cheating because that fosters an environment that might come back to hurt you. You might want
to do it, but it isn't in your interest
. So the self-interested thing to do is to refrain from cheating. Ultimately, she thought that people's rational self-interests ultimately would not conflict with anyone else's rational self-interests. This creates a bit of a conundrum for how the reader should read this. On the one hand, Rand believes in something like libertarian negative rights being in harmony with every individual acting selfishly. In other words, she thinks acting selfishly means respecting libertarian rights. As a result, she is opposed to all those bad things listed above. But on the other hand, we as readers can appreciate that her harmony thesis is actually wrong and that everyone acting in self-interest would not produce something like the arrangement she imagines. That does open the door to things like cheating, destroying lives, etc.
So when discussing what Rand thinks, we can talk about the consequences of her thought or what she thought the consequences of her thought was. She wasn't hedonistic at all, though. Shryver isn't the ideal person to be talking here.
But anyway, back to the point. Several people here have called her ideology "repugnant," "naïve," etc. Talk is cheap; so to all the naysayers I ask the following question:
What specific portion of her philosophy do you believe is untrue, and what are your specific reasons for concluding as much?
I linked an essay that was very detailed in answering this.