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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

• • • In the Ayn Rand archive 
Alan Greenspan  |Atheism  |Ayn Rand Archives  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individualism  |Leonard Peikoff  |Personal life  |Yaron Brook  | (PDF.)
The tragedy of Rand is that not only did she create her own religion, as the legions of true believers who persist to this day so effectively demonstrate—but she believed in her own religion, truly and deeply. She taught a creed of selfishness and radical individualism that boomeranged upon itself to culminate in a creed of Stalinesque conformity.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

• • The Measure of All Things 
The downturn helped usher Barack Obama into office, but his presidency has been defined less by liberal realignment than by the emergence of an Ayn Rand–inspired Tea Party movement that voted in a wave of conservative House members. After a moment of uncertainty, libertarian and conservative pundits recovered and blamed government regulation for the crisis.

Friday, November 09, 2012

• • • Will This Election Settle Republicans’ Ayn Rand Debate? 
Altruism  |Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  |Image  |Syndicated  | Whoever prevails in today’s election, the 2012 presidential campaign should go down as a referendum on the long conservative fascination with Ayn Rand, the controversial libertarian novelist and philosopher. Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate and former titan of private equity, embodies Rand’s belief in the moral rectitude of free-market capitalism. A secretly videotaped speech Romney gave to a private fundraising audience -- in which he asserted that 47 percent of Americans were “dependent upon government” -- was an excellent distillation of this worldview.

Friday, August 17, 2012

• • • Ayn Rand’s Long Journey to the Heart of American Politics 
Alan Greenspan  |Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Nathaniel Branden  |Paul Ryan  |Personal life  |Image  | [T]he true public blossoming of Rand’s philosophy came with the arrival of the Tea Party in 2008 which transformed this subterranean undercurrent of conservative interest in Rand into a blaring declaration of love. Before the Tea Party, Paul Ryan had been one of the few conservatives willing to openly embrace Rand as a formative influence. Most conservative politicians preferred to cite thinkers like F.A. Hayek or Milton Friedman, who were both more high-brow than Rand and neutral on the topic of religion. But the very aspects of Rand that made journalists shudder in the 1960s—her angry division of the world into “producers” and “looters,” her cheesy novels—made her into a Tea Party favorite.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

• • • Ayn Rand Wouldn’t Approve of Paul Ryan 
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | Early in his Congressional career, Paul D. Ryan, the Wisconsin representative and presumptive Republican vice-presidential nominee, would give out copies of Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged” as Christmas presents. He described the novelist of heroic capitalism as “the reason I got into public service.” But what would Rand think of Mr. Ryan?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

• • • Was Ayn Rand Randian? 
Alan Greenspan  |Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individualism  |Nathaniel Branden  |Image  |Syndicated  | Rand tried, but she couldn’t live up to Roark’s stoic disregard for the opinions of others. She retreated to the privacy of her Manhattan apartment, weeping daily and losing herself in endless games of solitaire. The philosopher of rationalism found herself swamped by emotions she could neither understand nor control. In desperation, she turned to Nathaniel Branden, the most loyal of her followers. Years before, flush with inspiration, she had taken Branden as a lover, disregarding both their marriages and the fact that she was 25 years his senior. Now Branden became her therapist, helping Rand pick through the wreckage of her ideals. Howard Roark wouldn’t feel like this, she moaned to him, nor would John Galt.

Friday, April 16, 2010

• • The right since Obama: The return of market fundamentalism 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | Rand’s dark vision of government matches the way many conservatives see the Obama administration’s policies, and her binary worldview of good and evil dovetails with the conservative mindset. Modern political conservatism emerged among widespread fears of Communism, often understood as a global battle between the forces of Christianity and atheism. Today, Rand enables pundits like Beck and Limbaugh to continue this familiar pattern and channel their moral outrage into economic terms. Instead of saints and sinners, it’s the producers against the moochers and looters.

Monday, December 14, 2009

• • • Ayn Rand and America’s new culture war 
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  | Does Rand’s popularity mean religion is no longer paramount to the conservative worldview? Of course not. But her ubiquity should tell us that tectonic plates are shifting under the surface of American politics. Even President Obama seems to understand Rand’s newfound influence, criticizing the “virtue of selfishness” in a recent speech. Rand’s prominence is a change from the Bush years when paleocons and libertarians like Ron Paul who stressed the evils of government spending were ignored. Today is their moment in the sun, and it is the religious right that is being swept to the side by the rush of events. The balance of power between religious fundamentalism and market fundamentalism is being recalibrated, a development that could have far-reaching consequences for how we understand the very categories of the political left, right, and center.

• • • Ayn Rand: Prophet or scapegoat? 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Personal life  | Ayn Rand is back. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the long-dead novelist and philosopher has become prophet and a scapegoat. Liberals blame her for the economic collapse, citing the influence of her most famous acolyte, Alan Greenspan. Conservatives hail her as a visionary who saw it all coming. Love her or hate her, Rand's ideas have become fundamental to how Americans understand capitalism.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

• • • Ayn Rand 
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Personal life  | PDF version (with additional photo).
Ayn Rand was finally getting her due. After Time magazine had called her masterpiece—the novel Atlas Shrugged—“a nightmare,” after the eminent philosopher Sidney Hook had savaged her in the New York Times Book Review, she had been invited to Harvard to present a paper on her philosophy of art. Her host, John Hospers, a rising young philosopher from Brooklyn College, belonged to the American Society for Aesthetics, which was meeting in Cambridge in October 1962. Rand’s appearance at Harvard marked a pinnacle in her already astonishing career.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

• • • Howard Roark in New Delhi 
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  | Not only do Indians perform more Google searches for Rand than citizens of any country in the world except the United States, but Penguin Books India has sold an impressive number of copies -- as many as 50,000 of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead each since 2005, a number comparable to sales there by global best-seller John Grisham.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

• • • Jennifer Burns’s Goddess of the Market 
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |The Fountainhead  |The Virtue of Selfishness  |Nathaniel Branden  |Personal life  | Book excerpt.
“I am coming back to life,” Rand announced as the Nathaniel Branden Institute entered its second year of existence. Watching Nathan’s lectures fill, Rand began to believe she might yet make an impact on the culture. Roused from her despair, she began once more to write. In 1961 she published her first work of nonfiction, For the New Intellectual, and in 1962 launched her own monthly periodical, The Objectivist Newsletter. Over the course of the decade she reprinted articles from the newsletter and speeches she had given in two more books, The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Although she occasionally talked of a fourth novel, Rand had abandoned fiction for good. Instead she reinvented herself as a public intellectual.