Ayn Rand: psychopath or narcissist?

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Thom has mentioned on numerours occasions his view that Ayn Rand's objectivist libertarianism is psychopathic, and often points to her praise for certain serial murderers and other psychopaths. I don't disagree that the philosophy is psychopathic for all the reasons Thom cites. What I do question is whether Ayn Rand herself was an actual psychopath/sociopath versus an extreme narcissist who just fantasized and wrote about psychopaths.

I make this distinction in hopes that the discussion of this topic will open up to include discussion about extreme narcissism, which I believe is also at the root of right wing politics and worldviews. There is a identified personality disorder for narcissism as there is for anti-social personality disorder (i.e. sociopathy and psychopathy). Having been trained and worked professionally as a therapist in the past, I believe that all the personality disorders have a narcissistic core.

I don't know a lot about Ayn Rand, but from what I have read and heard I think its a safe assumption that she was an extreme narcissist. While her philosphy may have promoted psychopathic behaviors, I have yet to hear that she demonstrated any: harming others, complete denial of personal resonsibility, flaunting rules, etc. I am talking about things that distinguish psychopathy from narcissism.

As I said above, I believe we can make the discussion much more flexible and accurate about Rand, libertariansim and a lot more about right wing philosophy and behaviors if we also look at the role of narcissism at the core of these. I believe that is far more prevalent in that group than psychopathy.

daj100's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm


Thom always uses sociopath. I like this definition of sociopath:

A person who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience. (ie. Republican or Libertarian)

Erik300's picture
Apr. 2, 2010 10:44 am

I am lumping all three terms in the same definition -- anti-social, sociopath, psychopath -- as meaning more or less the same thing. There may be some debate about whether all three mean the same thing or there are some differences, but that is digressing. Use whichever term you wish, but please respond to my point: that exploring the role of narcissism in the right wing movement in addition to sociopathy/psychopathy/etc. would be more productive and have greater resonance.

daj100's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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