Objectivism Shrugged?

“I think you’re on to an interesting story. The whole John Allison-Cato thing has the makings of an epic disaster.”

So begins the response of my source, Deep Galt, on the eminent appointment of the Ayn Rand Institute-affiliated Allison to head the Cato Institute.

From experience, DG believes that Allison’s “real [guiding] philosophy is not Objectivism. It is pragmatism. Same with [ARI president] Yaron Brook.”

Thus, explains DG, “Allison will tell the folks at Cato all of the soothing things they want to hear, about how he respects their scholarship and he’s not going to impose Objectivism on them.

“And he will tell an Objectivist audience the things they want to hear, about how he’s going to reform Cato and make people respect Ayn Rand and scourge the hippie pacifists from the organization.”

In this way, he is behaving not unlike a politician, which raises interpretive problems.

“Who is he lying to?” asks DG, non-rhetorically. “If I had to guess, I’d say both.”

DG explains that Allison “will probably do a little interfering with Cato to try to get them to toe something closer to the Objectivist line. But he will be careful to watch the internal office politics — particularly the views of the financial sponsors — and not go too far beyond where he thinks he has support.”

DG says that if Allison “clears out the Cato foreign policy shop, it won’t be at the behest of Yaron Brook or the Objectivists. It will be because David Koch wants it that way.”

My source thinks it’s likely that Allison will “underestimate the degree of resistance he will receive from the libertarian intellectuals and grass roots.”

We will get into that resistance, and into the inter-workings of the Ayn Rand Institute, over the next few days.


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