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Stossel: Ayn Rand–The Author People Love to Hate

Young people get passionate about the ideas of Ayn Rand

60 years ago today, Atlas Shrugged was published. The novel still sells 100,000 copies a year.

But not everyone will celebrate the book's anniversary. Ayn Rand is someone people love to hate. Years after her death, people still feel compelled to attack her ideas.

A recent John Oliver segment said her philosophy, objectivism, "is just a nice way of saying 'being a selfish asshole.'"

Fortunately, not all people think that way. Many young people, discovering Rand for the first time, say her ideas inspire them. Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, a free market advocacy group that promotes Atlas Shrugged on college campuses, says "it's surprising how much appetite there is" for Rand's ideas. Stossel challenges him, saying, "no, college students are socialists!" Kirk responds, "They're not socialists… 60% say they think socialism is a good idea and then 70% say they don't want to pay higher taxes and they don't trust the government. They just don't understand what socialism really is."

Driena Sixto discovered Rand through Turning Point USA. "I brought to class a ton of laptop stickers that said 'This laptop was brought to you by capitalism.' Towards the end of the semester I had most of the class on my side."

Jennifer Grossman, CEO of the Atlas Society, argues that it's important to expose young people to Rand's work because "Fiction is more powerful than facts."

Facts matter more. But often it's fiction that expands people's minds and changes how they think.

Produced by Naomi Brockwell. Edited by Joshua Swain.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • lafe.long||

    "She was talking about you having a right to your own life"

    That's just crazy talk.

  • BambiB||

    A 12,000-PAGE novel??? Holy crap! I must have read the Cliff-Notes version!

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  • colorblindkid||

    Her writing is often torturous and I disagree with many aspects of objectivism, but the dystopian worlds she portrayed in Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead are just as powerful, accurate, and relevant as the world of 1984, and even moreso than that in Brave New World. It is that reason that I like reading her work.

  • John||

    I have never liked her novels. I have, however, come to the conclusion that she is a bad fiction writer because she is too accurate in her portrayals of people. The cliche about the truth being stranger than fiction is largely true. Most of reality is surreal enough that if you accurately reflected it in fiction, people wouldn't believe it. Someone like Nancy Pelosi is so unbelievably stupid and such a cartoon that she can't be accurately portrayed in fiction. Rand's problem is that her villains are exactly as real villains are and it comes across as cartoonish and unbelievable.

    There is a great story about how Stanley Kubric originally set out to make Dr. Strangelove as a serious drama about nuclear war. When he started doing the research for the script, however, he quickly found out that the reality of nuclear policy and nuclear war was so crazy that there was no way to believably portray it in a drama. It could only be portrayed in a dark satire.

    The same is true of the things that Rand was trying to portray. Instead of making Atlas Shrugged or the Fountainhead dramas, she should have made them comedies. It is the only way these people can be accurately portrayed in fiction.

  • Overt||

    Indeed, this is what makes Judge films like Office Pace and Idiocracy so powerful.

  • John||

    Yes. Those are good examples. It is why as I have gotten older, I like Kafka more than I do Orwell. Orwell's problem was that he remained a socialist and though he understood the evils of communism, he couldn't let go of the idea that top men should be running things. As a result, Oceana ends up being far too well run and systematic than reality. Reality is Kafka. Kafka understood how surreal and absurd these sorts of people and regimes actually are in a way Orwell didn't.

  • Tony||

    *Says the Trump supporter*

  • John||

    Yes, Tony. And that has what to do with Kafka or Orwell? No way have you read Kafka. You probably have read 1984. Let me give you a hint Tony, the book is about a dystopia, not a Utopia and Oceana is a communist state, not a fascist one. I know you will find that hard to believe, but its true. Look it up.

  • Radioactive||

    or you could READ THE FUCKING BOOK! only as smart as the last person he spoke to...

  • Tony||

    Modernist literature was my main focus as an undergraduate. 1984 was of course a staple of high school. You attempting to find support for your political agenda in any of these texts is embarrassing.

  • John||

    Once again, Tony, it is a warning, not a handbook. Orwell wrote the book after he saw what the Stalinist did and wanted to do during the Spanish Civil War. You really are a retard of the highest order if you have convinced yourself that 1984 is not an anti-communist book. Sometimes you even amaze me.

  • Tony||

    Who are you arguing with? An empty rocking chair?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Hillary apparently considers it a handbook for the future, and a parable to encourage people to trust and rely on government and the media.

  • p3orion||

    That was one of the scariest things she ever said, which is a pretty high bar for a megalomaniac like Hillary. Even scarier is how it passed by most of the Left without even a shrug.

  • Otis B. Driftwood||

    Modernist literature was my main focus as an undergraduate.

    Christ....no wonder he has spent his entire career as a gubmint employee.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    My theory is he is just stating things now. He's given up expanding them to critical thoughts.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Tony should team up with Nick "magnitude of order" Gillespie. They could prophesy over beer how unhappy they would be if Rand were to sell 200,000 books a year, year after year, in language after language...

  • Paloma||

    I thought I - and my ex husband - were the only ones who laughed while reading Kafka.

  • Lester224||

    Idiocracy is a masterwork.

  • John Donohue||

    The drama was successfully made by Sidney Lumet, Eugene Burdick, and Harvey Wheeler. It is called "Fail Safe."

    Rand wrote for forever. She was serious. It is a serious matter, the prospering of freedom and individualism. It deserved to be a drama, not a farce.

  • John||

    I disagree. Farce and surrealism are the best weapons against such evils. People like the villains in Rand's novels want more than anything to be taken seriously. They are to a man utterly humorless and defenseless to ridicule. Nothing is more effective against such people than satire and comedy.

    Something like the Trial or Metamorphasis is a more effective indictment of totalitarian regimes than 1984 ever was. The problem with 1984 is that it is so horrible and so systematic that people don't believe it could ever really happen or see how it relates to their situation. Read the Trial sometime and then go through TSA security and it will resonate more than 1984 ever could.

  • John Donohue||

    Ayn Rand projected the ideal human spirit, the ideal social arrangement, the ideal value of people to each other, and opened this at the top to imply the limitless possibility for humanity.

    She had to include a contrast, for drama. The 'villains' are revealed as rats scurrying in the corner, and collectivism as an anti-life drudge, by the contrast, not by dragging them into the spotlight for farce.

    What hope and solution do Kafka or Orwell offer?

  • John||

    Orwell doesn't offer any. Kafka does in that the human spirit still triumphs over the surreal and evil. And Rand created bad drama. The characters are one dimensional. It is largely true and accurate, but real life isn't drama. The books are largely boring and do not do justice to her larger points.

    The other problem Rand has is that she was an objectivist. Sadly, life isn't as simple as she likes to believe it is. So while her villains were accurate, her heroes were not.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    Sadly, I have to agree with John here. As a dumb teenager, I was high on Rand, but then I grew up. Sadly, she never did. And let's not forget that she hated libertarians. In fact, her books were highly anti-libertarian in some ways.

  • John Donohue||

    @ Chipper ...

    Thank God Ayn Rand never 'grew up.'

  • John Donohue||

    @ john

    To those of us who caught the fire and never let it go out, it is of course the opposite: the drama is thrilling, the characters are startlingly shocking, love of life is inspired by fiction/drama, the books are exciting for a lifetime, and they do perfect justice for her philosophy -- they ARE her philosophy.

    Any Rand had a specific answer for the "heroes like these do not exist." It's at the afterward of Atlas Shrugged. Do you know it?

  • John Donohue||

    Yikes, no edit! However, I'm kind of fond of the typo "Any Rand!"

  • John||

    John Donohue,

    There is no accounting for taste. As I explain below, I think part of the reason why the novels never did it for me is that I read them in my 20s after I had already read things like Sholzneitizen and Orwell and such and thus didn't find the ideas in them to be quite the revelation that people who read them when they were younger did.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    John Donohue,

    The heart and soul of any novel are the characters. Ayn's characters are wooden, one-dimensional things that have no development. They have some admirable qualities, of course, but they are not relatable. Ayn's characters would have been great in a first contact story about an alien species in which the aliens choose a focus in life and then are driven and ruled by that focus. Humans don't work like that. Humans are ruled by social relationships.

  • John Donohue||

    @Chipper Morning, Mean Girl,

    Naturally, I disagree.

    Are you including The Fountainhead and We the Living? It would hard to make a case of "wooden" and "no development" for them.

    As for Atlas Shrugged ... this is not a conventional novel. It is the explication of Ayn Rand's philosophy, primarily, with a drama to illustrate a hypothetical scenario of what the concepts of Objectivism would cause to happen in certain imagined default culture.

    She was very clear AS is not naturalism, not intended to explicate a slice of life. It is a projection of the uplifting and aspirational spirit humankind could and should achieve.

    People inspired by such a vision? Yes, Humans work like that.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    Tell me how Howard Roark was different at the end of the novel. He wasn't. No development. Maybe the case can be made that Dominique changed and that she was the main protagonist, but the case for that is weak.

  • John Donohue||

    @ Chipper Morning, Mean Girl

    The entire first portion of Roark's story is his development as an architect, and learning how to deal with so many who don't share his values.

    Roark made mistakes, and one gigantic one. He had to nearly pay with his life for that error. He learned. He developed. I am sure he "never made that mistake again."

  • Paloma||

    I agree with her about Naturalism. Every Naturalist plot can be summed up by "Shit Happens".

  • Paloma||

    I believe Ayn Rand thought that plot was the most important part of any novel. The heroes followed the plot, not the other way around. She loved Romanticism, but could not seem to find a way for her heroes to grow. The authors she loved the most, Victor Hugo and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, were masters of character development.

    Also she hated Naturalism, even authors like Tolstoy and Ibsen.

  • ChrisC517||

    I read the villains of Atlas Shrugged to be the crony capitalists who lobbied government to regulate and suppress competition.

  • BambiB||

    Nothing is more effective against such people than satire and comedy.

    Offhand, I'd say bullets are more effective.

  • Radioactive||

    required reading at Indoctrination High...no one ever read it for pleasure, that's for damn sure...

  • John Donohue||

    Ever read what? Be clear.

  • BambiB||

    1984? You're kidding, right?

    I read it once in high school. Once again years later. Both times, I wanted to read it.

  • Nuwanda||

    You're confusing two things here: that Rand was a bad fiction writer, and that some situations and characters are too accurately drawn and should instead be portrayed satirically.

    Rand being a bad writer is opinion. The technique of satire versus drama obviously doesn't hold up in most cases or the likes of Orwell would have penned 1984 as a giggle fest. Yet he chose an almost Brutalist rendition with extremely stark charcterisations.

    If you think Rand couldn't pull it off due to lack of skill, that's one thing, but not because satire is inherently preferable to realism in such a book.

  • Juice||

    Fountainhead wasn't dystopian from what I remember.

  • colorblindkid||

    The world itself wasn't that dystopian, I guess,bu the philosophy prevalent in the society was.

  • Nuwanda||

    Rand's only true dystopian work was Anthem.

    Certainly not Fountainhead. And if Atlas is dystopian then so is our world in most respects. Rand's point about that was you didn't need amendments to constitutions or soldiers in the streets; all you needed for the world to collapse is bad philosophy.

  • Cloudbuster||

    if Atlas is dystopian then so is our world in most respects.

    If the shoe fits....

  • NCBlueJay||

    The Fountainhead isn't a dystopia. It takes place in New York in the 1920s. Many of the characters are satirical analogues of elites and intellectuals of the time. I think you might be thinking of Anthem.

  • Brian||

    Ayn Rand: trolling the left from beyond the grave.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    Which is what you'll be doing if you don't put that phone down! Stop it! Texting and driving is even more dangerous than drinking and driving fat girls home.

  • Brian||

    You do you, I'll do me.

    And I do mean "do".

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A recent John Oliver segment said-

    Stop right there.

  • John||

    I am going to go out on a big limb here and say there is no way in hell Oliver has ever read anything Rand wrote and likely has never read a novel as long or as dense as Rand's. Oliver is almost certainly one of those people who has never read a book cover to cover in his life but has all of the "right books", all of which have spines that would crack if you opened them up, displayed in his home,

  • ||

    Lil Joe from Lowell once bragged that he only read magazine articles, so he could come here and sound reasonably intelligent on a good variety of topics.

    I see Oliver the same way.

  • John||

    Yes. I am always amazed, though I should not be, how poorly read most people who claim to be intellectuals and informed actually are. I know very few people I would consider well read.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Few of the leftists who claim to be 'intellectuals' are in any way intellectual. Tony is a prime example. Dull witted, poorly informed Marxian analid that he is.

  • Radioactive||

    only without the attention span...

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I see John Oliver as an argument for a. Eugenics program that systematically removes weak, sniveling, little trolling creatures like John Oliver from the gene pool. Once and for all.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Ayn Rand is someone people love to hate. Years after her death, people still feel compelled to attack her ideas.

    A website had an Ayn-hating section going on for awhile, and this is my favorite entry.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    That's awesome, Crusty. Lol.

  • colorblindkid||

    This response, to a question about what the dress looked like, in the comment section is spectacular:

    "The dress was sliver-gray, like the brushed aluminum wing of a Douglas DC-7. It was cut against the bias, its very lines suggesting forward motion; relentless, imperious progress. It had a small bow at the hip."

  • NCBlueJay||

    That was perfect. I think it was meant to call back to Mallory Ortberg's article about Rand's tendency to dress her female characters in grandiose fashions.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I always like to think of Ayn Rand on Twitter. (Of course, the character limit might prove a challenge.)

  • John Donohue||

    I hope you are being ironic ...

    That page is viciously upside-down. The choir for that blog showed up, all right, and teed off on Ayn Rand. However, Rand's actions, letters, and advice are spectacularly wise. Publishing them, the blog exposed a virtue in an attempt to socially construct evil.

    Do you agree?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I hope you are being ironic ...

    It is my favorite entry because of the reasons you stated.

  • John Donohue||

    cool!

  • Juice||

    How is it rotten and uncapitalistic to borrow money?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    According to the letter it's rotten and "uncapitalistic" to borrow money without being serious about paying it back according to terms which you've agreed to upon receiving the loan.

  • Rhywun||

    Yeah, those who "borrow" money from family or friends all too often have no intention of paying it back. Ayn is doing everyone who might know this girl a favor by nipping that s--t in the bud.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    C'mon, when we say "borrow," with friends and family, we mean "give."

  • Paloma||

    Lil dude from across the street lemme hold a dollah

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Whereas nowadays peo0le don't pay it back and then blame the lender for advancing the money in the first place as some kind of villain (like AmSoc).

  • NCBlueJay||

    I think my feelings are best summed up by this commenter: "The most hilarious thing about this is that she could literally just say, 'yes, but because I think it's time you started learning to manage money, let's work out how you'll repay it, good practice for your life' or 'no, I'm sorry, I won't' and it would have been FINE, but no, she had to AYN RAND all over the perfectly sensible idea with the equivalent of a long-ass speech."

    I don't think anyone was horrified that Rand asked for her niece to pay her back. I just think it's funny that Rand couldn't even manage social letters without launching into philosophical rants. She had great ideas; I've read her novels and some of her nonfiction, and I consider myself an admirer, but let's admit that she was kind of a weird lady. (Then again, the best thinkers and writers are all kind of weird.)

  • Rhywun||

    The reactions to that are proof there are two different kinds in the world.

  • NCBlueJay||

    Oh, I wouldn't say Mallory Ortberg is an Ayn Rand-hater. She surely rejects Rand's philosophy, but she seems to be a grudging admirer. Her parodies of Rand's writing style are hilarious, and they show that Ortberg, unlike many, has actually read Rand's books. (I mean, I'm sure many Rand fans don't even own Letters of Ayn Rand.) My favorite line was from "Ayn Rand Reviews Children's Movies," regarding Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: "If Grandpa Joe can dance, Grandpa Joe can work."

  • RenaD||

    Huh. My dad sent me and my brother (and later the grandkids) letters like this all the time (and not even typed, but handwritten). We didn't think dad was an asshole, just annoying, with an old-dude tendency to over-preach, like all the older people we knew.

  • Curt2004||

    "...people still feel compelled to attack her ideas."

    Since when. They attack her personally or personally attack those who mention her but to attack her ideas they would have to actually think. I have yet to see that.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Anthem is pretty good.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's definitely her best novel. It's also the shortest by far. Coincidence?

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    I have to agree. Anthem is by far my favorite.

  • Paloma||

    I liked We the Living.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I tried reading the Fountainhead. I got a few chapte zzzzzzzz

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    You should at least read until the rape scene.

  • Juice||

    It's the story of a giant narcissistic asshole who destroys other people's property and the woman who loves to be raped by him.

  • Juice||

    It's the story of a giant narcissistic asshole who destroys other people's property and the woman who loves to be raped by him.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz

  • Crusty Juggler||

    It's the story of Donald and Melania?

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    Donald does love him some architecture.

  • Juice||

    Parthenon? Pffft.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    The columns are falling apart. Sad!

  • Tony||

    Welcome to John Stossel's class on Ayn Rand. Before we get started, I need to see everyone's certificate of potty training. We wouldn't want any poopy accidents to interrupt the free flow of mind-numbing inanity.

  • John||

    Tony, I doubt you have ever read a serious novel in your life. I know for a fact you have never read anything Rand wrote. I find objectivism a silly philosophy and don't like Rand's novels. I, however, as someone who has actually read her novels and also read enough other serious novels to compare them with, am qualified to criticize Rand and have an intelligent opinion of her writing. You, however, are not. So, rather than infecting this thread with your ignorance, why don't you run along and try to find a topic that you know something about to comment, though I admit that will be a difficult task.

  • Tony||

    I've read every goddamn sentence Ayn Rand wrote you ridiculous blowhard. Then I graduated to 9th grade and read better stuff.

  • John||

    Bullshit. There is no way in hell you have read every sentence Ayn Rand has ever written. There is no way you have ever read anything she has written. What is your story now? That you are a converted objectivist? Give me a break. It is okay that you haven't read them. Frankly, I wish I had the time I spent reading them back. But spare me your bullshit claims that you have or that you know anything about Rand other than the leftist talking points you have been fed, because I don't believe a word of it.

  • Tony||

    I don't give a shit if you believe me. It's not like you have to ready the entirety of Atlas Shrugged to get the point anyway. I still did it just to say I did.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    And that has made all the difference.

  • Tony||

    That reminds me, since we're all talking about literature children read, "The Road Not Taken" is widely misinterpreted.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Of course I know that: I didn't get my liberal arts degree without picking that up.

    Now let's move to a more advanced topic: Modern Literature and Vaginal Studies.

  • Paloma||

    It's a poem. Poems are subjective. If the author could say it better another way, he or she would have. Poetry is that which is lost in the interpretation.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    And the truth comes out. Tony skimmed the dust jacket of one of her books.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The best part about the John n Tony show is they are identical, each imagining the other is "not really" a virtuous altruist.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I've read every goddamn sentence Ayn Rand wrote

    Stop it.

  • ||

    I've read every goddamn sentence Ayn Rand wrote

    Sure you have...

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I've read every goddamn sentence Ayn Rand wrote

    That is the most ridiculous brag on this site since Anal Van-Man's asterisk outburst.

  • Rhywun||

    BEST BR*G EVAH!

  • IceTrey||

    C'mon you're claiming to have read "An Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology"?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Tony, you're a lipping piece of shit. John's right. You've never read her work, nor much of anything else. So just stop. No one here will buy into your dishonest ignorant progtard bullshit.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    'Lying piece of shit'. Tony also probably smells bad, and likely has shitty fashion sense, at least as poofs go.

  • Tony||

    I've adopted the Mark Zuckerberg theory of fashion. I'm not a morning person, so I'm going to wear the same thing every day. Though I do switch out the color of my shirts.

    And I did read Atlas Shrugged, every word. On the toilet.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Sure you did, sure you did. WE BELIEVE YOU.

    Or most likely, you read a progtarded review of it and were instructed what to believe.

  • Nuwanda||

    "I've read every goddamn sentence Ayn Rand wrote you ridiculous blowhard."

    Oh, my. This is where Reason's primitive comments technology really works; once submitted, you're stuck with it. Even after you sober up.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    A+ material.

  • CMart||

    Enjoyed Atlas Shrugged. But John, it's not 12 THOUSAND* pages long (see 2:52). It's fewer than 12 HUNDRED.

    *Although there were a few points where it seemed that number was accurate.

  • Brian||

    A quick search of Amazon shows new editions of Atlas Shrugged selling for more than Hillary Clinton's month-old book.

    Ah well: so much for trying ideas.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Driena Sixto is a majestic being who should be worshiped as the new goddess of capitalism.

    Also, I agree with Stossel that fiction can do a better job of teaching people what really matters, and there isn't enough popular liberty-oriented fiction out there. That's why I am calling for the Koch brothers and other wealthy, liberty-minded individuals to finance my effort to bring more libertarian-minded stories to the masses. With your help I can become libertarianism's Harvey Weinstein.

    Let's light this candle.

  • John||

    If the Koch Brothers were as smart as they think they are, they would be buying magazines, TV stations and publishing houses instead of wasting their money taking over CATO.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    It will be a good thing to deny jobs in journalism to progressives. Who all belong on blacklists, and should be made unemployable save for back breaking minimum wage manual labor.

  • JFree||

    There's plenty of good liberty-oriented fiction - from early childhood level to adult. Emphasis on GOOD fiction that actually frees you to think without an attempt to make you think a certain way. Granted, the 'best fiction' lists produced by libertarian-oriented groups - http://lfs.org/newsletter/030/03/FiftyWorks.shtml - tend to be filled with tales of dystopian communities/authorities countered/opposed by heroic individuals. Which does produce a nasty habit among libertarians of just whining about what others are doing.

    But there's also plenty of positive 'liberty works for the individual' fiction too - even by authors who themselves were stupid/socialist/collectivist in their own politics. And lists of 'most frequently banned books' tend to be heavy with that sort of fiction.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I once had an acquaintance tell me that Ayn Rand was the worst person of the entire 20th century, which was convenient, because it's nice for someone to let you know that you don't have to take anything they say seriously ever again.

  • John||

    Clearly, that person was never going to admit to the evils of communism, but how did they rank Rand worse than the various fascist murders? How exactly does someone think writing novels could ever make someone worse than people who shoved women and children into ovens by the millions? Was this person on drugs?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    This person was a self-proclaimed socialist, perpetual grad student, and freelance dog-walker whose Facebook activity consisted mainly of complaining about how she didn't have any money.

  • Radioactive||

    Hillary?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    A socialist doesn't have any money unless they make it to the ruling class.

  • Paloma||

    That narrows it down.

  • RazerMackham||

    Ayn Rand definently wasn't the worst person alive but she was definently not a good peron In all her books she glorifies rape, her "ideal man" are often rapists and she's often a rape-apologists, having her rape-victims proclaiming that they actually enjoyed it. I mean in the Fountainhead the main character rapes a woman and then the woman says that she really wanted. Ayn Rand also thought that killing is okay in the name of capitalism, even at the price of democracy. In Atlas Shrugged a guy called Nathaniel Taggart murdered a state legislator that through passing a law with democratic means would prevent him from building some railroad and this is heavily glorified. Also in the book a oil baron called Ellis Wyatt blowed up his oil fields (like Saddam Hussein did) in respone to regulations.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Such a white knight.

    How many women have you been with? If 9 out of 10 women you've been with haven't at been at least a little turned on by bondage and rape fantasies, then you were too boring in bed and they're lying to you.

    There is a reason 50 Shades of Grey exists along with umpteen thousand female-oriented romance novels involving the protagonist being ravished by a pirate/sheik/prince, etc.

    Also:

    * Calling the Nat Taggart incident and endorsement of murder in the name of capitalism is a bit of a stretch. It's a novel. Not everything every character on the protagonist's side of the struggle does is an endorsement of that action.

    * They're Wyatt's oil fields, he can blow them up if he damn well wants. That's what property rights mean.

  • Citizen X - #6||

  • John||

    I wish Rand had never written the novels. Even though I am not an objectivist and don't like her novels, I think Rand was one of the great essayists of the 20th Century. Her essays on Communism and the left are fantastic. I wish people would read those and skip the novels.

  • creech||

    Well, I'm glad she wrote her novels and I re-read them from time to time and always find some new, subtle argument against statists. I've heard criticism that her characters aren't "real" because, for example, John Galt never excuses himself to visit the toilet or Roark doesn't get pissed when his dry cleaner can't find his tux.

  • John||

    I think her characters were too real. Realism is overrated in fiction.

  • Cloudbuster||

    I find it difficult to distinguish Wesley Mouch in behavior and morality from your typical D.C. functionary.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Thanks for giving me an opportunity to plug my new book: Atlas Mugged: How Plutocrats have Stolen our Democracy and Turned it into a Plutocracy in the name of Capitalismmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    It features a Randian villian and a Bitching hero, who spends his time giving up self-interest in pursuit of constant group-think whining about life is everyone else's fault and begging for socialtopia. He reviles the rich and bitches for their destruction, right up until the climax, where his dream comes true and he's put on the dole, making everything OK, and thus completing the circle of self-contradiction.

    If you like, I can send you a gofundme link, so you, too, can join in the self-contradictory circle jerk.

  • Radioactive||

    Al Gore as the hero?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Ayn Rand was an old crank and Atlas Shrugged was a terrible book. Someone had to say it.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Hey, come on, be fair. The Fountainhead was also a terrible book.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    One of Rand's best novels, IMO, is We the Living. Thus my screen name...

  • John||

    I think that is the one good novel she ever wrote. I would take that over the better known ones every time.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    ...also, John Galt seemed too obvious.

  • Eric Bana||

    That's the only one I read, and I did like it.

  • Eric Bana||

    I've tried to read that book twice, and I never got very far. I like Ayn Rand, though.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Try a different language. The Portuguese edition of Atlas is good, though the translator took a beating from "you can't have your cake and eat it too." A French version was recently released, and it's been out in Spanish for quite some time.

  • Brian||

    In 100 years, people will still read Ayn Rand, and they won't remember any of the bitching chorus.

  • John||

    That is probably a good bet, but far from a certainty.

  • Lachowsky||

    Admit it, you skimmed through the speech. I know I did.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    For those people who talk about Rand being a terrible author, I'm always curious who they think is a great author.

    Often I think the real problem is that they don't want to read a 900 page book. I get that. For some reason I've been unable to get far in any James Michener novel, though I'm not going to call him names for my failure.

    But then, I read all seven of Stephen King's Dark Tower books, so I'm ok with such punishment from time to time.

    What Rand wrote sticks with me still today. The only thing I remember from The Dark Tower was, "he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father" and, "See the turtle of enormous girth, on his shell he holds the Earth."

  • John||

    I think there are lots of great authors. I am partial to the other Russian novelists, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Solzneitzien in particular. All of Solzneitzien's novels about the Soviet Union are in my opinion far superior to anything Rand wrote. We The Living is the one novel of Rand's that I liked but it for me at least wasn't even close to Cancer Ward or the First Circle. Those novels changed my life and the way I looked at nearly everything. I really can't say the same for Rand's novels.

    Philosophically, I find Objectivism to be severely lacking. I am okay with long philosophical discourses in novels. War and Peace and the Brothers Karamazov are two of my favorite novels and both are full of such discourses. But, the discourses better be really profound. And none of Rand's discourses are.

    I think part of my distaste for her novels, in addition to my not being an objectivist, is that I came to them later in life after I had already read Solzneitzen. So, her positions on the evils of communism and such were not new to me in the way they were to people who read her novels at younger ages. I can understand why people like them so much in that they read them when they were young and they made a real impression. But, I still think they are not particularly good or great.

  • Chipper Morning, Mean Girl||

    John read all those novels in his cubicle at DHS.

  • John||

    Nope. I would have read a lot more if I had done that.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That's preferable to basically everything else a government lawyer might be doing on the clock, so i'm fine with that.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Quoth the mystic...

  • Tony||

    I think she's less of a terrible author and more of a terrible person.

  • John||

    Yes Tony, believing in ideas that you disagree with makes her a terrible person. Sorry Tony, believing that makes you a terrible person and says nothing about Rand.

  • Tony||

    If she's not a terrible person, who is?

  • XM||

    I don't know, Hitler?

    Harvey Weinsten was a Lion of the Hollywood for a while.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    You are, Tony.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    No Tony, if you were actually a real person, you would count as terrible. However, as progressives have no souls, you are not really a person. Just a soulless unclean thing, wearing a people suit and pretending.

  • ToCa81||

    Politics aside, Atlas Shrugged is just a really lousy book. The characters are all one dimensional, with black or white morality. Even the supposed heroes of the story are just so damn unlikeable. Plus her penchant for describing even the most mundane actions with over exaggerated verbiage drove me fucking nuts. And John Galt's thousand page radio speech was probably the most dreadful exposition I've ever slogged through. I couldn't wait to finally put that book down at the end.

  • John||

    Yeah, contrast that radio speech with something like the Teachings of the Edler Zosima or the Grand Inquisitor in the Brothers Karamazov or the letter left by the dead Christian in the concentration camp in Life and Fate (which though not well known, is one of the great novels of the 20th Century). There is just no comparison.

    I like Rand in a lot of ways. I would rather people read her than communist pulp like Steinbeck. And it is good that so many people are so affected by her writing and have walked away from collectivist Utopian thinking as a result. So, in that sense, I guess you have to say she is a great writer. What makes a "great writer" if not having a real effect on a lot of people? Personally, however, I just don't get it.

  • Jgalt1975||

    What I find particularly funny is the sheer extent to which Ayn Rand functions as a boogie man for leftwingers such that they constantly attribute things to her (anti-abortion policies, supporting the Confederacy in the Civil War, etc.) that she was stridently and expressly against.

  • John||

    That is pretty funny. Almost none of the people who profess to hate Rand have ever read her work or really have any first-hand knowledge of her ideas. Like nearly everything the left says these days, hating Rand is just a talking point and generic term for "I don't like what you think but can't explain why".

    Rand is very lucky in her enemies. Since they are leftists and basically morons, they don't know what Rand actually said much less understand it. If they did, they would focus their criticism on The Fountainhead instead of Atlas Shrugged. The Fountainhead is very much a romantic novel. All of the things in it about the individual and the need to assert yourself and create great art is pretty damn close to Nietzche and the idea of the Superman. The difference is Rand believes in an objective truth. But once you buy into that, it is a very quick leap to buying into other things, like certain groups or races of people being collectively entitled to rule over others. Indeed, I think you could argue that Rand's embrace of American individualism in the way she does in that novel comes very close to that an whether she intended it or not invites others to cross the line into doing so.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    "Any Rand's Superman"

    A two thousand page critique of the dying World Krypton, and its collectivist failures. Contrasted with the last survivor of Krypton, young Kal-El, and his objectivist philosophy as he becomes Superman. Balancing objectivism with a drive to be a superhero.

    I imagine an eighty page monologue from Superman , after he has defeated cronyist villain Lex Luthor's evil plot to gain a monopoly on hair restoration products through payoffs to progressive politicians.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    "But once you buy into that, it is a very quick leap to buying into other things, like certain groups or races of people being collectively entitled to rule over others."

    There is no way that anyone with more than two brain cells could read Rand and reach the conclusion, even mistakenly, that one group should rule over another.

  • Sevo||

    "The difference is Rand believes in an objective truth. But once you buy into that, it is a very quick leap to buying into other things, like certain groups or races of people being collectively entitled to rule over others."

    John, you're proven yourself to be a true imbecile before, but you're just outdone yourself. What an idiot.

  • IceTrey||

    "Atlas Shrugged" is the last Rand work people should read not the first. They should start with "The Virtue of Selfishness".

  • RenaD||

    And then "Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal." I agree with John, above: she was a much greater essayist than fiction-writer.

  • brady949||

    I...would not have interviewed Charlie Kirk. He's a Grade A douchecanoe.

  • Priscilla King||

    I click on one...more...link that turns out to be another @#$% VIDEO, I cancel my subscription!

  • mcsandberg||

    A hearty Thanx! Mr. Stossel!

    Atlas Shrugged was supposed to be a warning, Not A Newspaper!

  • DirkT||

    Many young, educated Americans go through an Ayn Rand stage. Most of them grow out of it.

  • John Donohue||

    Really? I find that any truly inspired by Rand's vision, who later "grow out of it," have given up the fire.

    Frankly, once electrified by Rand, how can you grow out of it? Give up, yes. But 'grow out of it?'

  • Sevo||

    "Many young, educated Americans go through an Ayn Rand stage. Most of them grow out of it."

    Many also go through the "liberal" stage and it is to our misfortune that some are permanently warped and don't grow out of it.

  • John B. Egan||

    She's just an author of a rather poorly written book, and for some reason, RWers have decided she's some type of cult heroine, and they ignore her utter hypocrisy? I don't hate her, but I sure question the sanity of people who elevate fer based on silly out-of-date theoriies that they glean from her writings. This is what people can actually stomach? Really? It's better suited to the The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. I guess next stop is L. Ron Hubbard!

    He did not listen to their talk. He heard dimly that Lillian was arguing,
    defending him against his mother.

    "I know him better than you do," his mother was saying. "Hank Rearden' s
    not interested in man, beast or weed unless it's tied in some way to himself
    and his work. That's all he cares about. I've tried my best to teach him some
    humility, I've tried all my life, but I've failed."

  • ||

    I was born a sceptic, a questioner, a thinker. From my earliest memories I wanted to know, to understand more than most were willing or able to explain. At 5 I was introduced to the "Santa Myth" by parents. I thought they were joking. I called them out but they continued to lie. I decided to investigate for myself. I intended to pretend to go to sleep, then get up and open my door a crack to lay in wait. I waited & waited. Finally I woke up in bed the next morning. I "put a pin" in the investigation. Next year I took a blanket/pillow with me to the door cracked open, laid down, and fell asleep again. I was awakened by my parents excitely talking. They were setting the stage for the "Santa visit" illusion. My suspicion was confirmed. I was satisfied. I went back to bed and never spoke to them of my spy work.

    I discovered Ayn Rand's work by reading "The Virtue of Selfishness" on Jan 1st, 1966. I was enthralled. Next, I read "For the New Intellectual". This was the beginning of a personal "enlightenment". My favorite Rand work is, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology". I went back to college and majored in philosophy.

  • ||

    In 1966 I read everything Rand wrote, including her pamphlet "The Objectivist". To this day she remains the major influence in my life. And I didn't need her fiction to fall in love with her. But I was an atheist at 8, rejecting the only arguments I had to go on, at my Sunday school. After much thought, I became an anarchist at 12, not even hearing or knowing any outside arguments. Rand didn't change my mind. I thought she was inconsistent on this. It was her only major mistaken conclusion.

    If most discover Rand through her fiction, good, as long as they follow up with a through understanding of the premises of her political philosophy. A superficial infatuation based on fiction plots or characters will not stand up to the inevitable cultural push back. Objectivism is held by a small minority who are threatened by violence in a world where the superstition of statism/socialism/authoritarianism is brutally enforced on all. It is dangerous for Objectivists, but it is more dangerous to not live their lives by their reasoning rather than a destructive cultrual madness.

    Conformity is betrayal of the self. It is worse than death. It is a miserable, inhuman life, however common.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Catholic nuns were trying to brainwash schoolchildren when Atlas was published. The more they tried to manufacture differences between mysticism and romish superstition, the quicker kids realized they were the same thing. Ayn must've saved millions of kids from Italian fascist and nationalsocialist dictatorships.

  • Sevo||

    "Next year I took a blanket/pillow with me to the door cracked open, laid down, and fell asleep again. I was awakened by my parents excitely talking. They were setting the stage for the "Santa visit" illusion. My suspicion was confirmed. I was satisfied. I went back to bed and never spoke to them of my spy work."

    I didn't 'spy', but logic'd it out. Regardless, the folks were enjoying it so much, I kept up the fantasy for another year or two. No reason not to humor them.

  • Azathoth!!||

    I always wonder at what horrible thing your families must have done that they had to fake Santa Claus for you.

    You do realize that it's not fake for most people, right?

  • John Donohue||

    @ John B. Egan

    1) What is your point about the excerpt? I'm sure you could find something much much worse as an example of Rand's writing. Or can't you?
    2) What is your opinion of the three pages that follow Dagny's first sexual experience? I'll give mine ... there is no finer description of it in literature.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Ayn Rand–The Author People Love to Hate
    Young people get passionate about the ideas of Ayn Rand

    I put down my copies of "Das Kapital" and "The Communist Manifesto" after I saw how much our controlling oppressors were taking out my first paycheck. It was right after that I started to read Rand's books along with Freidman, Von Mises, etc. I haven't regretted it.

  • CATT||

    My parents read all of this authors books back in the late 50's and 60's. And, of course my siblings read her books in the 60's and 70's. She was a winner, for sure.

  • aajax||

    I lean heavily libertarian, but I have no fondness for Ayn Rand's moral rigidity.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    So, you prefer moral elasticity instead?

  • Otis B. Driftwood||

    Someone told me on Twitter than Rand was, like, totes KOCHTOPUS or something.

  • Intelligent Mr Toad||

    The main problem (for me) with Ayn Rand is not her ideas (although they aren't very good). The main problem is her ham-handed, blocky, bombastic writing style. As if she were trained by the committees that wrote Stalin-era propaganda novels about heroic factory-worker-activists fighting slimy capitalists, and had just decided to write the same way from the opposite political perspective.

  • Eman||

    I feel pretty much the same about her style; she reads too much like a translation for me, but, to be fair, writing any kind of book in a foreign language is pretty impressive.

  • John Donohue||

    @ Intelligent Mr. Toad and Eman ...

    You know that saying ... when you honestly fall in love with someone, they look more beautiful every day?

    If you think Rand's premise and ideas aren't very good, you are not in love. Get it?

    You should see her writing from my viewpoint. Zowie!

  • Sevo||

    Intelligent Mr Toad|10.11.17 @ 4:25AM|#
    "The main problem (for me) with Ayn Rand is not her ideas (although they aren't very good). The main problem is her ham-handed, blocky, bombastic writing style. As if she were trained by the committees that wrote Stalin-era propaganda novels about heroic factory-worker-activists fighting slimy capitalists, and had just decided to write the same way from the opposite political perspective."

    You post here just often enough for those who do also to recognize that comment as red-herring bullshit.
    You post here just often enough for those who do also to understand you'd despise her ideas if you could possibly understand them.

  • AndyWingall||

    It's impossible to have an intellectual conversation about Ayn Rand with people on the Left. I find that the more "liberal" a non-Leftist is (and Rand espoused true liberal ideas) the more they hate you--Leftists seem to hate socially liberal non-socialists more than they hate far right extremists. Perhaps because the Left and Right have much in common. It's the same reason why the Left media will lynch a conservative black or gay person without flinching and erase him or her from history, and yet seem to delight in fixating on true a-holes like Sarah Palin for years on end. It's amazing how often Palin still comes up in left wing discussions. You might wonder why feminist college English professors refuse to place Rand on their syllabuses. No woman celebrated female sexuality and independence unapologetically like Rand--but she's anti-communists, and to the the modern feminist that's worse than being a woman killing patriarchal savage. For those of us with open minds, Rand is a wonderful writer to discuss, dissect and understand, whether you like her style or not. I read somewhere that after the Bible "Atlas Shrugged" is a book that has had the most influence on Americans. It didn't necessarily influence me as give me a sense of satisfaction after reading one Marxist propaganda after another there was someone like minded like me. Ironically it was a very far left college classmate of mine who first introduced me to Rand.

  • Tony||

    If you can't see the genocidal fascism dripping from every page of Atlas then you aren't reading it correctly.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    If you see genocidal fascism in Atlas, then you are delusional and should seek professional help. Better yet, check in to a clinic before you go full Mandalay Bay.

  • Tony||

    The book's message, though it takes many many words to say so, is "We should kill people who don't agree with Ayn Rand. Like, all of them."

  • Hank Phillips||

    Nothing dishonest about Tony! What was it Heinlein said about altruism? Something about self-deception?

  • Hank Phillips||

    The NAP and chapter 10 of Atlas were written while altruistic National Socialists were being hanged after the Nuremberg trials in Germany and elsewhere. Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz sums it up: the common good trumps the individual's rights! Hitler was elected by 98% Catholics and Protestants how many times?

  • Seamus||

    So Tony agrees with Whittaker Chambers, who famously wrote, "From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: 'To a gas chamber — go!'"

    http://whittakerchambers.org/a.....bigsister/

  • John Donohue||

    Seamus, why did you comment on and post that link?
    Do you agree with Chambers/Buckley on Ayn Rand?

    Whitaker Chambers was a traitor who should have been executed. Instead, he found employment by William F. Buckley Jr., as a hit man. His assignment: protect Buckley's investiture in the Resurrection of Christ by not letting Ayn Rand's philosophy galvanize the Right and the American people.

  • RazerMackham||

    I've never hated Ayn Rand because of her philosophy. I hate Ayn Rand because of her character.

    In all her books she glorifies rape, her "ideal man" are often rapists and she's often a rape-apologists, having her rape-victims proclaiming that they actually enjoyed it. I mean in the Fountainhead the main character rapes a woman and then the woman says that she really wanted. That's like every rapists excuse. She's also made some comments on the role of women that I find quite troubling.

    Ayn Rand also thought that killing is okay in the name of capitalism, even at the price of democracy. In Atlas Shrugged a guy called Nathaniel Taggart murdered a state legislator that through passing a law with democratic means would prevent him from building some railroad and this is heavily glorified. Also in the book a oil baron called Ellis Wyatt blowed up his oil fields (like Saddam Hussein did) in respone to regulations. I'm no fan of socialism but I prefer to live in peaceful democratic socialism than violent, murderous capitalism.

    I don't hate Ayn Rand because of her philosophy, I happen to quite agree with objectivism. I hate her because Ayn Rand was quite simply a bitch

  • John Donohue||

    There is no rape anywhere in Ayn Rand's writing.

  • RazerMackham||

    No in the fountainhead the main character rapes his love interest and said love interest goes all about how much she really wanted to be raped by him wanted. In Atlas shrugged the main characters first lover during their first sexual intercourse doesn't ask for consent, but throws her down and does what he wants. This is a qoute from the book describing the scene: "She knew that fear was useless, that he would do what he wished, that the decision was his." She has sex with another person in the book and the first time they sleep together, it leaves the protaganist bruised and bloody, and the morning after, the love interest rants at her that he holds her in contempt and thinks of her as no better than a whore. None of this is meant to make us judge these characters negatively.

  • John Donohue||

    I won't argue the Roark/Dominique scene. The claim that she did not consent has been refuted so many times, it is tiresome to say it again. Here's a twist: why aren't you angry about Dominique running the seduction, inviting sex, but failing, and then she physically assaults Roark? That is a crime, right?

    You second claim is Dagny's first sexual encounter. She consented, fully. Yes, Francisco initiated and made the decision. She let go of fear, consented, surrendered to whatever he wanted -- that time. The three pages following that scene are filled with the joy and wonder of a strong, independent, young woman reflecting on the depth of her sexual joy and power. It is the most beautiful such scene in literature.

    The third is Rearden/Dagny. You are relating Rearden's reaction. He has an error in his values about sex and love. Dagny's innocence, happiness, and independence pushes up his error, to the point of his ugly rant. Dagny laughs, knows he does not believe that deeper down. This is a complex, nuanced scene that plays out in their spectacular love affair, and Rearden's character development.

  • RazerMackham||

    Well one the first case I won't argue that Dominique is likeable. That's one of my biggest problem with Ayn Rand's books. As said I like her philosophy but her writing is in my opinion at best mediocre. The stories and the characters are so one-dimensional. Handsome hot capitalists and evil ugly government stooges. One comment on this thread put it best. I'm paraphrasing but it was something like "Ayn Rand writing is like soviet propaganda but for capitalism". Her writing is like capitalist propaganda and it's quite stale and boring. But as of Dominique, her unlikeability and her flaws does not excuse rape.

    As for the other points, all of your statements sounds like they can be put into a rape fantasy and it wouldn't feel out of place. That's sort of my problem with Ayn Rands' books sexual contents, they're all essentially rape fantasies. You might say that Dagny consented with Francisco but she never openly consented and it's displayed as like Dagny secretly wanted it but that just seems to me like the first excuse of any rapist, that the victim really wanted it. Call me a white knight if you'd like but I am of the opinion that regarding sex anything that isn't a yes is a no and while sex can be rough and sometimes violent, these terms regarding sex should be agreed upon by both partners before the sex and therefor becomes fully consensual. Francisco just throwing down virgin Dagny and doing whatever he wanted with her without her explicit consent just seems abusive.

  • RazerMackham||

    Rearden left her bloody and bruised and then by your arguement regarding Rearden and Dagny's relationship, it sounds like Rearden's essentially her abusive husband who verbally and physically abuses her but Dagny tells herself that he really loves her. If you take away all the flowery language, how Ayn Rand wants to frame the scene and looks at it objectively the sexual content is always quite horrific. That's my main problem, that Ayn Rand does her very best to romanticize sexual violent but if you take away this romanticization it is IMO just plain wrong.

  • John Donohue||

    @ RazerMackham

    Yes, one could completely deny the full context authored by Ayn Rand, and substitute an alternate with a few narrow similarities of fact, and that might achieve the level of "horrific."

    That would not be the responsibility of Ayn Rand.

  • John Donohue||

    @ RazerMackham

    Your first paragraph fails. The writing is spectacular, characters are rich, nuanced, and adventurous. Half the heroes are not capitalists, half the stooges are businessmen -- you are totalizing stereotypes to your discredit.

    And Domonique was not raped.

    The Dagny/Francisco first-time scene is dramatic, logical, vivid, and strong. It is not even close to rape. I already made my claim about the beauty of the after-days for Dagny. One cannot read those several pages of her interior bliss and love of life, and construe this with any evil. I wish every woman in the world would have a first time like this, with an afterglow that lasted days.

    On that tennis court, Francisco did not verbally ask. Dagny did not verbally ask. But they both consented, and got what they wanted. Consent can be fully given without a verbal 'yes.'

    Ayn Rand's top characters make love with passion, with extremely physical erotic explosions. They "make love like tigers." (Isadora Duncan) They are lusty. There is surrender and dominance, woman and man. As someone else in this thread said, if many of one's partners in life did not take joy in the sex-play of "who's on the bottom tonight, and how strong can they take charge," they might be making love too timidly.

    Although not described in detail, Rand indicates – in what amounts to montages – they also make love with tenderness, laughter, sensitivity. It's in the books -- you could look it up. The joy of sex. Intimacy.

  • Ariki||

    I am seeing a woman who loves to be treated pretty similar to the Roark/Dominique scene.
    Am I a rapist?

    Most women I have been with like to be dominated to varying degrees. It just comes down to where that line is drawn for them. Finding it can be fun, I'm always surprised what I can get away with if you treat a woman with respect before & after rather than a worthless notch on your bed post.

    I guess at the end of the day women still want men to be "men". I think the problem with modern society is that somewhere along modern men have forgotten what it means to be a good man. Instead we have an abundance of 30 year old boys who never come out from under the apron.

  • AndyWingall||

    Ironic that a self-proclaimed feminist would use the term "bitch" to describe a woman he dislikes. BTW, do any of you realize that Rand grew up in the middle of the Bolshevik Revolution not some upscale communist enclave like New Rochelle. If she describes killing communists, she probably really meant it because she experience what they were really like--she wasn't told what is should be like by an effete college professor.

  • MyCroftxXx||

    for being a bunch of "free thinkers" everyone here has the same opinion. "important, but crappy writing". for me, i loved AS, WTL, Anthem, but most of all her essays. she has one on the Moon landing that was great(she compares it to woodstock, perfect). the clearity of her characters was refreshing- if simpilistic. maybe i have the same mental disorder as her but the motivations and mental dialog were spot on. I cant read Joyce or Keroac.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    People criticize her character development, but no other novel I've read over the decades has had characters that have stuck with me for as long. I honestly can't immediately remember a single character's name from the Orwell, Huxley, Asimov, Kafka, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Brecht, etc novels that I've read.

  • John Donohue||

    Hi Butler, agreed ...

    BTW, I've been in love with Dominique for 50 years.

  • Eman||

    Reading James Joyce, and especially talking about doing so, is a pretty sure sign that your head is at a least a pornstar's penis length up your own ass. Just, as they say, saying.

  • Eman||

    There's a really good HL Mencken essay about how Nietzsche isn't actually anything like the monster he was made out to be. If the people who use Ayn Rand as a pejorative knew who either of those people were it would be very instructive.

  • RazerMackham||

    I've never hated Ayn Rand because of her philosophy. I hate Ayn Rand because of her character.

    In all her books she glorifies rape, her "ideal man" are often rapists and she's often a rape-apologists, having her rape-victims proclaiming that they actually enjoyed it. I mean in the Fountainhead the main character rapes a woman and then the woman says that she really wanted. That's like every rapists excuse. She's also made some comments on the role of women that I find quite troubling.

    Ayn Rand also thought that killing is okay in the name of capitalism, even at the price of democracy. In Atlas Shrugged a guy called Nathaniel Taggart murdered a state legislator that through passing a law with democratic means would prevent him from building some railroad and this is heavily glorified. Also in the book a oil baron called Ellis Wyatt blowed up his oil fields (like Saddam Hussein did) in respone to regulations. I'm no fan of socialism but I prefer to live in peaceful democratic socialism than violent, murderous capitalism.

    I don't hate Ayn Rand because of her philosophy, I happen to quite agree with objectivism. I hate her because Ayn Rand was quite simply a bitch

  • DaveSs||

    Years ago when I was in high school, before I knew anything about libertarians, objectivism, or even a vague understanding of politics or liberty, in preparation to go to college I was on the hunt for scholarships.

    One of the scholarships I found, the application process required reading The Fountainhead, and then writing about it.

    I got about 1/5th the way through and gave up
    Its not that I had a problem with reading. If I had downtime, especially while outside the house, I was reading something.
    No, the problem was the book was very boring.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Idiots are programmed to attack Ayn's person. None dare attack her ideas:
    1. You must choose your values and actions by reason;
    2. Every individual has a right to live for his or her own sake,
    neither sacrificing self to others nor others to self; and
    3. No one has the right to seek values from others by physical force,
    or impose ideas on others by physical force.
    Disprove these three things and your statue will replace Lenin and Hitler's all over Europe.

  • John Donohue||

    Hank, that's a brilliant challenge.

    I have a comment on your point 1 ...

    One explanation for the drearily repeated trope "her characters are wooden, there is no nuance or development" is this: if you have not 'chosen your values and actions by reason,' then you are propelled by inherited tapes, drifting emotional cultural waves, and pragmatism that refuses to name its premise. Such people get their moral compass 'changed' like falling leaves. A character in fiction (or someone encountered in real life) who remains steadfast to consciously chosen and convinced rational code triggers them ,,, "people are not like that." They dig in with an obstinacy that an author championing consistency of values is rude, unfair, and even fascist. They attack Ayn Rand for her claim [paraphrase] 'People like my heroes can and should and do exist. That's why you are afraid.' [end paraphrase]

    The only thing worse is someone who once operated out of chosen rational values, but betrayed them. In literature of naturalism and the nihilist school, such characters have "nuance." Sometimes, authors of nuance and despair of sustained values win the Nobel Prize!

    https://theobjectivestandard.com/2017/10/
    the story nobel-prize-awarded-to-kazuo-ishiguro

    I'll watch your post to see if any Rand's Person Attackers take up your challenge.

  • Hank Phillips||

    It's not my challenge. Nathaniel Branden flung it in the faces of idiots way back when "Judgment Day" was shocking the priesthoods of all manner of cults. The list aptly sums up 90% of the original ideas Ayn Rands detractors wish they had the guts and gumption to take on. It is a list of things she got right, and the looters all know it.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Very well put.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    Idiots are programmed to attack Ayn's person. None dare attack her ideas:

    What part of literally worse than Hitler don't you understand???

  • sasob||

    A recent John Oliver segment said her philosophy, objectivism, "is just a nice way of saying 'being a selfish asshole.'"

    Which is - to paraphrase Ambrose Bierce - just another way of saying that she had a lack of regard for the selfishness of other assholes.

  • Gregory Zeigerson||

    Yes, Atlas Shrugged is 60. Yes, it is spiritual and powerful and worth celebrating. No, it is not 12,000 pages long!

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