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Ayn in a Nutshell:
Atlas Shrugged is great literature. Selfishness is good, altruism and self-sacrifice are evil. There is no God or anything miraculous or supernatural. Unregulated capitalism is the ideal. Ayn Rand was the greatest thinker since Aristotle. The heroes of Rand's novels are realistic role models. A person should never have an irrational emotion. Faith is evil. America is headed toward a Nazi-style dictatorship. Kant is the most evil man in history. Popular culture is uniformly without merit. A couple should have children only if they have the proper, rational reasons to do so. The environmental movement is anti-life. Ronald Reagan was a terrible president because he was religious. We should drop nuclear bombs preemptively on our enemies (a position reiterated a year or two ago by Rand's heir, Leonard Peikoff, on The O'Reilly Factor, prompting O'Reilly, no pacifist, to blurt out, "Who are you - Dr. Strangelove?!"), the 19th century was a Golden Age, all drugs should be legalized, all roads should be privately owned, Social Security and Medicare should be abolished, the FDA is immoral, taxation should be ended and the government should rely on voluntary contributions, health inspections at restaurants are a violation of individual rights ...

1 comment:

cutter and Paster Ltd. said...

Ayn Rand heartily alienated most intellectuals of her era- left, right and center. Even today, the mere mention of her name brings a vicious snarl to the lips of many people.

Partly, this was because she was a genius, and her work made irredeemable confetti of a lot of little worldviews. All of Marx's horses and all his lame professors couldn't put socialist or altruist philosophy together again after Ayn. So, some of this alienating couldn't be helped.

On the other hand, partly she was often, not to put too fine a point on it, a bitch. To be fair, she went spoiling for fights, let us say.

She is often described as a figure of the right, but the accuracy of that very much depends on exactly what part of "right" you mean. In fact, she was just about as unpopular among many conservatives, especially because of her extremely staunch atheism- which she insisted on as a bedrock of her philosophy.

Written by Al Barger
Published January 07, 2005

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