The ultimate development of Rand’s so-called Objectivist philosophy is Satanism. Not the almost entirely mythical Christian heresy, but real Satanism, the atheist, self-worshipping philosophy/religion promulgated by Anton LaVey and his ilk. Satanism explicitly acknowledges its foundation on Randian attitudes. But Satanism takes the ideal of self-reliance further. Rather than seeing reason as the arbiter of good, as represented by money, Satanism sees pleasure, or individual satisfaction and enjoyment, as the ultimate good, possibly the only good. (Updated: Please note the other forms of Satanism pointed out in Sarah’s comment; I apologize for presenting LaVeyan Satanism as the only Satanism extant. For the rest of this post, please note I am only discussing LaVeyan Satanism.)

I’m not going to do a complete comparison, partially because I can’t stomach that much of either Rand or LaVey&Co. But just to give you a few examples:

Rand’s description of Objectivism: “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

Current leader of the Church of Satan on the Satanic view of deity: “To the Satanist, he is his own God. Satan is a symbol of Man living as his prideful, carnal nature dictates.”

Their web page describes the Church of Satan as, among other things, “a forum for ground-breaking new developments by Satanists who move with fury and grace through this current culture of rampant mediocrity.” Sound familiar? That’s how Rand would have written her heroes if Rand had any writing talent. Instead she substituted speeches. But that’s another issue.

Finally, from the “words of welcome,” on why they choose to call themselves Satanists:

“We don’t need a lot of followers; we need more leaders in society in general and Satanism is a philosophy of leaders. That’s the glib answer. The more complete answer is that Satanists find more strength in images of defiance, fortitude against all odds and self-determination than we do in the image of the guy hanging on the Cross. We are sickened by the complacency, hypocrisy, prejudice, and self-righteousness that most conventional religions (including “Wicca” and “paganism” as they are currently defined) encourage in people.”

“There is always a Satan, an adversary, in every culture. There is always the figure who represents the Dark Side, the unexplored realms, the prideful beast who defies the norm. God, on the other hand, generally represents conventionality, predictability, the safety of normality, the comfort of the larger group and the rewards of staying within the bounds of propriety. That interaction is necessary to life and progress—not “good” versus “evil,” but that constant interchange between a need for conventionality and a need for risk-taking by those few who are compelled to explore the murky regions.”

This is Randian thought with “reason” replaced by “desire” or “aesthetics” and “creativity” replaced by, primarily, “lust.” In some ways, LaVey was more honest than Rand about what he was teaching his followers. Michael Shermer’s interesting piece “The Unlikeliest Cult in History” describes how ultimately whatever Rand liked or wanted was taken by her followers to be the standard of Objectivist “reason,” including her desire to have an extramarital affair, but not to allow her younger lover to have other affairs besides with her.

I am not saying that Objectivists are Satanists. I’m saying that the Objectivist philosophy, taken to its logical extreme, is indistinguishable from Satanism except for the fact that the Objectivists fool themselves into thinking everything they do has a perfectly rational explanation that everyone ought to agree with them about. The Satanists admit that they’re bastards and that it’s their personal philosophy to be bastards.

Finally, a graphic that summarizes it better (from here):

The Objectivist Tree

4 thoughts on “Objectivists and Satanists

  1. Not all Satanists follow LaVey’s crap. See the website (run by a left-leaning theistic Satanist), which goes into fairly exhaustive detail about various Satanic groups/ideologies that have nothing to do with LaVey.

    You can also go to the Satanic Reds at which is one Satanist organization that’s explicitly left-wing in mission and beliefs.

    But hey, way to scaremonger.

  2. Thank you, Sarah. I have updated the post to reflect your comment.

    I have tried hard not to scaremonger, though. I do not want to be like Glenn Beck, creating imaginary worldwide conspiracies where none exist. For example, I made an effort to present LaVeyan Satanism in its own words, rather than just using Satanism as a label to evoke vague fears of the mythical Christian heresy. What I want to do here is point out that certain worldviews, taken to extremes, are dangerous in similar ways.

    Sometimes it takes a strange comparison to make people reassess something they’ve been comfortable with, like Ayn Rand’s writings. I don’t want to create unreasonable fear. On the contrary, I want people to reevaluate, rationally as well as emotionally, the conclusions to which their comfortable assumptions might lead.

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