Date of Award
History & Political Science
First Committee Member
Andrew Mills, PhD
Second Committee Member
Tammy Birk, PhD
Third Committee Member
Meredith Meyer, PhD
Ayn Rand, Objectivism, Environmentalism, Anti-environmentalism, Right-wing Politics, Environmental Political Theory
American Politics | Ethics and Political Philosophy | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Intellectual History | Political Theory | United States History
Environmental protection has become a volatile political issue in the United States, especially within the past decade. This toxicity must be remedied to facilitate substantive reform. Anti-environmentalism on the part of the American Right can be partially traced back to the writings of the conservative philosopher Ayn Rand. In this paper, I aim to show that Rand fundamentally misunderstood the mainstream environmental movement in the U.S., and similarly her environmental philosophy, as well as her answers to solving environmental damages, are inadequate in providing answers to collective environmental problems (i.e. climate change). I argue that even in a framework as far-Right as Rand’s, environmentalist sentiments can exist when they are understood as willing sacrifices, and imposed environmental regulations can be supported through an expanded notion of property rights.
Bailey, Taylor M., "Ayn Rand’s Rejection of Environmentalism: Toward Challenging Right-Wing Inaction on Environmental Issues in the United States" (2015). Distinction Papers. 9.