• • • Capitalism’s martyred hero
The Economist Atlas Shrugged |The Fountainhead |Capitalism |Personal life | Reviews of two Ayn Rand biographies: Ayn Rand and the World She Made, by Anne Heller and Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, by Jennifer Burns. Anne Heller is more informative on Rand’s early years in Russia. Jennifer Burns is better versed in conservative thought. Both are well worth reading, partly because Rand’s life was so extraordinary and partly because the questions that she raised about the proper power of government are just as urgent now as they ever were. Rand was the single most uncompromising critic of the collectivist tide that swept across the capitalist world in the wake of the Depression. For her, government was nothing more than licensed robbery and altruism just an excuse for power-grabbing. Intellectuals and bureaucrats might pose as champions of the people against the powerful. But in reality they were empire builders who were motivated by a noxious mixture of envy and greed. Rand’s heroes were a different breed: the businessmen and entrepreneurs who felt the future in their bones and would not rest until they had brought it to life.