|What a conundrum! We all know that the author of the article is dead wrong, and has blatantly used a variety of sleazy techniques (e.g., "straw men," as Dr. Branden points out) to dismiss Objectivism as totally false.|
Do we ignore him, or respond?
Is any purpose served in that response?
The situation, of course, is that the article was lifted from another site and reproduced here. It's merely an example of how leftists characterize Objectivism to fellow leftists. The author didn't pop in here to throw down the gauntlet, nor did he publish that statement in some general forum for debate. No response is required because there was, in fact, no challenge.
On the other hand, each one of us should feel comfortable in our ability to respond, if and when such a challenge comes our way. But, unless we occasionally mix it up with these ideologues— especially with uncommitted third parties looking on—we often don't realize how unprepared and overconfident we are.
Having authored a libertarian blog for a couple of years with the traffic being mostly under-educated teens (many of them budding socialists), I can't tell you I often got a surprisingly rude awakening when confronted by an accusation such as this one from the article:
The "reason" that Objectivism pays so much lip service to is nowhere in view. Its followers will not acknowledge, for example, the staggering failures of private corporations to provide any health care to more than 40 million Americans and affordable health care to any of the rest.
My main purpose was always to influence the uncommitted onlookers, because I knew the challenger was too far gone. Believe me, it's not a simple matter to reframe that accusation using the principles of private property and individual responsibility just to counter it, and still keep an audience.
Having said that, however, I have to admit that it's been a terrific learning process for me, both in being forced to re-think every position, and then having to react in a way that at least earned the respect of the onlookers, and sometimes even the opponent.
Sure, we could deconstruct the argument here, then pat each other on the back for a job well done, but it would only amount to an "exercise." I vote to save the energy and meet them on neutral ground. Change some minds! Or, at least rattle their cages.