Ayn Rand's detractors saw horns emerging from her head. Her acolytes saw a halo. Titles aside, two new biographies--Anne C. Heller's "Ayn Rand and the World She Made" and Jennifer Burns's "Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right"--depict a mere mortal whose life was more complex than an angel or devil. Read my book review @ City Journal that demonstrates why readers of this pair of biographies can be grateful that Ayn Rand was more human than the characters she created.
Very well written piece, and as enlightening as the stuff in IM.
You rightfully admitted her internal inconsistencies, those of a giant many conservatives proudly claim, including certain despicable hypocrites who believe they are modern-day King Davids, adulterers (are they also trying to implicate themselves as murderers?) after God's own heart.
What would be the policy implementations of a government guided by Randian Objectivist principles?
Are certain universal human rights justifiable under Randian Objectivism? If so, which ones?
A common thread runs through reviews of Rand's life, when the reviewer dislikes Rand's ideas. This is the notion that Ramd's ideas about ethics must be flawed, because she was.
But this notion won't hold water. If Rand failed, at times, to make moral choices consistent with the idea that one should seek to fullfill one's rightly understood self-interest, her failings do not refute her ideas about ethics. They merely reveal personal lapses of moral integrity.
Mr. Flynn presents a particularly ugly version of this non-sequitor when he charges Rand and her followers with mimicking the behavior of Hitler and Stalin. "...Objectivists conducted star-chamber trials, (and) demanded that followers denounce relatives..." and etc. Such behavior is cruel and self-defeating. But to charge that this rudeness mimicks Hitler and Stalin is morally outrageous. Hitler's thuggery was implemeted, not through RUDENESS, but through the exercise of physical force. Stalin's show trials and public denunciations were terrible, because his victims COULD NOT LEAVE THE ROOM!
Upon reading such drivel, I found myself inwardly cheering on the refusal to permit Heller access to the Ayn Rand Papers.
Having read snippets of information about Rand and her life, she appeared to be the same kind of ego driven narcissist and vindictive thin skinned personality that our current President is.
The difference of course is that Rand was a theorist and author and had no real sway over peoples' lives. With the latter, those are dangerously flawed personality traits.