It is hard to find anything out there about Ayn Rand’s idealization of child serial killer, William Hickman that does not appear to be a smear campaign by the left. In fact, it is impossible. It is also impossible to find anything put out by the right that does not attempt to make light of her idealization of Hickman or deny it all together. So let me preface my critique by saying that I have no political agenda in doing so. As a side note, I will also say that I was named after a character in her novel, “We the Living.”
Ayn Rand’s idealization of William Hickman is undeniable, regardless of whether she intended her journal for public consumption or not. I do not, however, believe that she idolized his deeds, i.e. the killing and gruesome dismemberment of an innocent 12 year old girl. Her notes seem to indicate that she is fascinated with his ability to be utterly unconcerned with anyone but himself and his own needs and wants. Essentially, she is idealizing Hickman’s narcissism and not his entire pathology, just the part with which she is most enamored. This is really no surprise as her entire philosophy is based on her own narcissism.
I have said many times that I believe psychopathology exists on a scale from narcissism all the way to rapist serial killer. BUT IT IS ALL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY! Ayn Rand’s philosophy is quite obviously a philosophy for the narcissist that appreciates his or her own ability to think of him or herself as a philosopher. Anyone who sets out to create a “new morality” based on the self, without any concern for any other is the ultimate narcissist who refuses to even entertain the idea of the reality of what it means to be human and what it means to be moral.
As human beings we are defined by our relationships and our ability or inability to nurture healthy ones. We exist in community, whether we like or appreciate the community we find ourselves in or not. It is therefore impossible not to harm others in the pursuit of one’s own happiness when one is utterly unconcerned with any others. Ayn Rand managed to wax philosophical about how perfect the world would be if this was possible but that does not make it possible. It is still, at the end of the day, simply a narcissist’s fantasy.