a note on Ayn Rand

N. Bannister - L. Maners (landn@AZSTARNET.COM)
Wed, 21 Feb 1996 08:15:35 -0700

Just to clear up a few misconceptions based on reaction to the Ayn Rand
Institutes home page. Rand was a Russian Jewish refugee from (memory is
failing me) Leningrad. She settled in New York and much later, Los
Angeles. She became a philospher (and was lusted after by Alan Greenspan
-head of the Federal Reserve-while at Columbia). Many of her novels,
"Atlas Shrugged", "The Fountainhead", "Anthem" are romans a these (sorry,
I can't do those French diacritics), wherein the thesis is the
philosophy of Objectivism, with which she is most associated. Objectivism
is best summed up by the phrase, "The Virtue of Selfishness"-that
individuals act in their own self interest first (interestingly enough,
apparently,so do genes in a sense). Objectivism is not the opposite of,
as someone posted, multi-culturalism. It's emphasis is on individualism
which probably explains its continuing attraction to undergrads. Although
Rand is often taken as an founder of 20th century libertarianism
(hey,even Noam Chomsky has taken to calling himself a socialist
libertarian), her philosophical compass was actually a bit more narrowly
limited to Objectivism. She also led a very radical personal life in
acting out her philosophy as a woman. Her marriage to Norman Braden was
an interesting example of a philosophical commitment to open marriage.
"Just a Few Thoughts Before Breakfast" Lynn
PS-really enjoyed Mike's post this morning about schisms in right and
left nostrilism and irrelevance. Libertarians go through precisely the
same schismatic behaviors in their intellectual communities. (I'm
reminded of the main point in Eric Hofer's "The True Believer")