<CPOV> Wales and objectivism

Joseph Reagle joseph.nyu at reagle.org
Wed Mar 31 23:43:58 CEST 2010

Since the topic came up in Florian's presentation, I coincidentally read a bio of Rand in which Wales is mentioned, and I think touches on the irony/balance:

[[ http://reagle.org/joseph/blog/social/wikipedia/wales_objectivism

   I just finished an excellent biography of Ayn Rand and her philosophy
   in the context of American political culture. While reading, I couldn't
   help think of Wales' expressed interest in Objectivism and the next to
   the last page actually comments on this issue:

     One of the many ironies of Rand's career is her latter-day
     popularity among entrepreneurs who are pioneering new forms of
     community. Among her high-profile fans as Wikipedia's founder Jimmy
     Wales, once an active participant in the listserv controversies of
     the Objectivist Center. A nonprofit that depends on charitable
     donations, Wikipedia may ultimately put its rival encyclopedias out
     of business. At the root of Wikipedia are warring sensibilities that
     seemed to both embody and defy Rand's beliefs. The website's
     emphasis on individual empowerment, the value of knowledge, and its
     own risky organizational model reflects Rand's sensibility. But its
     trust in the wisdom of crowds, celebration of the social nature of
     knowledge, and faith that many working together will produce
     something of enduring value contradict Rand's adage "all creation is
     individual." (Burns 2009, p. 284)

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