Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, is an acknowledged source for some of the Satanic philosophy as outlined in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey. Ayn Rand was a brilliant and insightful author and philosopher and her best-selling novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead continue to attract deserved attention for a new generation of readers. I am a strong admirer of Ayn Rand but I am an even stronger admirer of Anton LaVey for the vital differences between the philosophies of Objectivism and Satanism.
First, Objectivism holds that metaphysics, that branch of philosophy which concerns itself with the nature of reality, determines the nature of epistemology (which is concerned with how man acquires knowledge) as well as ethics (which is concerned with valuing human action), politics (social ethics) and art. Current philosophical disagreement on this issue still continues. It is, in fact, an unproven assertion by Rand that one's metaphysical assumptions determine one's ethics.
You don't have to start with metaphysics to create your ethics. Satanism does not assert that the fundamental truth of the nature of reality (metaphysics) is known. In fact, Satanists utilize two different metaphysical assumptions regarding reality as evidenced in Satanic ritual as opposed to the rest of life. In effect, Satanists are pragmatic regarding their beliefs concerning reality. Thus, as Satanists do not claim to know the absolute “truth” regarding what is real they are, by definition, not “Objectivists” who hold that reality is totally objective. Satanists proclaim that doubt is vital in the absence of proof. At this fundamental level there is division between the two views of reality.
Second, Satanism does not hold that “a life appropriate to a rational being” is the sole standard of ethical right as does Objectivism. If anything, Satanism holds that indulgence in life or “fun” as perceived by the individual is the highest standard of ethics. Satanists see that Objectivism has enthroned reason above the individual as opposed to utilizing this sole means to knowledge as a tool to achieve a purpose. Satanism enthrones the individual as a whole, not reason, as the supreme standard to determine the value of actions (ethics).
Third, Rand's philosophy rejects as ethical accepting the sacrifice of another to one's self (to paraphrase the end of Galt's oath from Atlas Shrugged). The Satanic view sees as ethical the reality of domination of the weak by the strong. The assertion in Objectivism is that the use of force to cause others to submit to the will of the stronger or cleverer individual is "wrong" for the individual. This is a second major assertion which Satanism finds unproven by the Objectivists. Consequently, the Satanist is far more flexible in the choice of actions available than is the Objectivist who cannot simply accept his personal needs as absolutely reliable to determine the best course of action in any circumstance.
Fourth, Objectivism is purely atheistic with a complete rejection of the value of a god in their metaphysics. The Satanic view of this is in pure agreement except in two areas. The Satanist holds that the meaning of god is useful when one holds it to mean the most important person in an individual's universe and chooses that person to be himself. The Satanist also ascribes magical god-like qualities to himself when indulging in the alternate view of reality enjoyed in ritual. In both instances, Satanism sees the cultural effect of religion and god as an emotional asset to be tapped rather than simply rejected. In other words Satanism is a religion (with the individual as God) and Objectism isn't.
Let me conclude this brief overview by adding that Satanism has far more in common with Objectivism than with any other religion or philosophy. Objectivists endorse reason, selfishness, greed and atheism. Objectivism sees Christianity, Islam and Judaism as anti-human and evil. The writings of Ayn Rand are inspiring and powerful. If the reader has not yet experienced her power, try her novelette Anthem for a taste. You will almost certainly come back for more.
At the same time, Satanism is a “brutal” as well as a selfish philosophy. We do not hold, as do the Objectivists that the universe is “benevolent.” Satanists view the world as neutral, beyond the concepts of benevolent or treacherous, good or evil. Satanism enables the Satanist to codify his life beyond the ethical and metaphysical straightjacket which Objectivism unfortunately offers. This is not written to attack Objectivism but merely to clarify the areas of difference.
Satanism drew from Objectivism as even Rand drew from others. Both are, however, unique. Both are different from the other.
This article first appeared in The Black Flame, Volume 6, #1 & 2, 1997 c.e.
It is copyrighted by Hell’s Kitchen Productions, Inc. and may not be reproduced without permission.