Implications of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist Ethics in Modern Day Society

Filed in Articles by on November 3, 2022

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Ayn Rand advanced and propagated the view that rational selfishness should be pursued at all cost instead of altruism, that the individual should be allowed by all to live as he or she pleases.

The only duty of government, according to her, is to make sure that nobody takes away the freedom of the individual. This research work is aimed at evaluating this moral theory of Rand called objectivist ethics,

to determine its strength and weakness and implications on man and society especially the African society which is communalistic in nature.

Even though we agree with Rand that man has the tendency to become selfish and defend individualism, we do not agree with her that selfishness is a virtue.

This work after examining the different positions of both philosophers, sociologists and Anthropologists on the objectivist ethics of Rand, concludes that the moral theory of Ayn Rand,

if left the way she posited it, will make the individual person the sole authority in morality, that is nothing but relativism in ethics. The individual is good but the group is better.

The society can only survive when the different individuals complement one another, not just to live in a world where every man considers issues and actions right or wrong, depending on how he or she is affected.


My motivation to embark on this research work came as a result of what I saw during the 2011 general election in Nigeria Where a man was given some money to share to his party loyalists for campaign purposes,

he kept the said huge sum of money in his private bank account and decleared that he received nothing. When his colleagues discovered they nearly killed him.

As I was thinking about man and selfishness, why an individual should prefer to live, survive or enjoy at the expense of others, what he thinks he will gain by so doing, what he thinks will become of the rest of the people outside himself, I came across the book titled The virtue of selfishness, by Ayn Rand.

Reading deeper, I discovered how she venerated selfishness over and above selflesness, how she preached in favour of the individual in her Philosophy called The Objectivist Ethics.

This study is highly motivated by the desire to ascertain whether a society of rational selfishness can be realized amongst men or not, where moral values are man dependent and to know the possibility of a society without religious ethics and ethics of care.

Among all the Egoists and the existentialists, there is this disturbing view that man’s individual existence should be given the prime position over and above that of others in the society.

That man experiences himself, concerns himself and defines himself. This view, put clearer, means that man simply is nothing except what he determines himself to be, man is nothing apart from what he makes himself. 


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