Summary: Ayn Rand has become a hot intellectual property, whose wisdom many conservatives recommend guide our actions. Here is the essence of her teaching.
Here are two columnists exchanging volleys about Rand.
- “Obama Needs AIG’s Liddy, Not Other Way Around“, Caroline Baum, op-ed at Bloomberg, 19 March 2009
- “Carol Baum: Welfare CEOs are Just Like John Galt“, Matthew Yglesias, ThinkProgress, 19 March 2009
I have not read any of her books. I gave up after trying to go through both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead (life is too short). But perhaps we can find all we need to know about Rand in the comments to Yglesias article. Here are a few of the best.
#13 Mnemosyne Says:
In defense of Ayn Rand (and that’s the last time you’ll see me say that), in her books the heroes were people who actually made and built things, like railroads and buildings. The financiers – the kind of guys who would sell and re-sell the same mortgage 20 times – were always the villains. They’re a bunch of James Taggarts trying to convince everyone they’re John Galt.
#15 burritoboy Says:
Beyond Rand’s other numerous stupidities, she had no idea what modern corporations actually do, or even the bare basics of how they operate. The great corporate innovators of her era like Gerard Swope, John J Raskob and Alfred P Sloan were precisely NOT the inventor / entrepreneur figures a la Galt. Indeed, Alfred Sloan forced out William Durant out of GM, a figure far more like Galt than Sloan was. By the time of the 1920s, the era of inventors / entrepreneurs (if there ever really was such an era) had already long departed.
#64 Dr Zen Says:
“Though there are two serious flaws in Rand’s novel”
This is true. She can’t write and her ideas are stupid. Her “philosophy” boils down to: “the rich are entitled to be greedy, erm, because, erm, because, hey want a blowjob?”
I’d say it’s a good rule of thumb in this life to consider everyone who thinks Rand is a philosopher and not a clown to be irredeemably stupid. I’ve never seen a counterexample.
#96 Kevin Says:
Going Galt after reading Atlas Shrugged is somehow akin to moving to the Shire after reading Lord of the Rings. This meme has now had it’s fifteen minutes.
#99 Jon Says:
I can’t remember if my passing desire to be John Galt came before or after my passing desire to become the Kwisatz Haderach.
#112 Trollhattan Says:
I suspect John Galt was actually a pseudonym for Tom Swift, so Rand didn’t have to pay royalties. Working title for Atlas Shrugged: “Tom Swift and His Atomic Razor.” Isn’t “going Galt” just code for stiffing your Applebee’s waitress?
For more information
Posts about Libertarianism:
- All you need to know about Ayn Rand, savior of modern conservatism, 22 March 2009
- A modern conservative dresses up Mr. Potter to suit our libertarian fashions, 17 November 2011
- Ron Paul’s exotic past tells us much about him, the GOP, libertarians – and about us, 27 December 2011
- Choose your team: our election is a conflict between long-dead philosophers, 12 September 2012
- The difference between Christianity & Libertarianism marks a line between America & the New America, 11 February 2013