Every so often, people hostile to Ayn Rand’s ideas try to attack them by saying that Rand said or implied something she never said or implied and then attacking what she never said or implied. Consider some examples.
In an article for the New Criterion, Anthony Daniels (aka Theodore Dalrymple) claims (among other things) that Rand rejected compassion and held that “it is right for human beings to be utterly callous and indifferent to the fate of the unfortunate.” Daniels does not quote Rand saying this (or any of the other things he says she said); and the reason is, as Alan Germani observes in his response to that article, “Rand never said or implied any such thing”; rather, she explicitly clarified when she regarded compassion as appropriate and when not:
I regard compassion as proper only toward those who are innocent victims, but not toward those who are morally guilty. If one feels compassion for the victims of a concentration camp, one cannot feel it for the torturers. If one does feel compassion for the torturers, it is an act of moral treason toward the victims.
In an opinion piece for the Christian Science Monitor, Vladimir Shlapentokh similarly attempts to discredit Rand’s ideas by claiming she held views that are, in fact, completely contrary to her actual views. For example, he claims that “Rand was fully indifferent to the workers in her novels, whom she described as primitive beings—‘savages’ in the words of Atlas’s steel mogul Hank Rearden.” But Rand never described workers as primitive beings or savages or anything of the sort. Shlapentokh’s claim is false, which is why he did not and cannot provide a citation to support it. Far from being indifferent to workers, Rand regarded productive work “in any line of rational endeavor, great or modest, on any level of ability” as a virtue. Anyone who reads Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead or any of Rand’s other works will see her reverence for producers of all kinds concretized and emphasized in myriad ways. . . .