Calling Ayn Rand Fans: What is Her Appeal?

We’ve seen a million words printed about the 50th anniversary of the publication of Kerouac’s On the Road, but that’s not the only classic hitting the half-century mark. This year is also the 50th birthday of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (see NY Times piece here ).

I read a big chunk of this big book years ago, but didn’t finish it  for some reason. I did read We The Living and The Virtue of Selfishness. I seem to recall reading that she and William F. Buckley Jr. had some major differences that led to her being alienated from the conservative movement Buckley was trying to form in the 50s and 60s.

I’m curious: If you’re a Rand reader or a Rand believer, what is  her appeal, as you see it, and what influence do you think she’s had on American society as a whole?

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3 thoughts on “Calling Ayn Rand Fans: What is Her Appeal?

  1. For me having read AS first, the initial appeal was a validation of something I spent my younger years thinking had to be true, but never heard. Humans are not born evil/bad/sinful. Everything I had ever read, or heard said that we in fact were broken at birth, which just simplynever made any sense to me, it seemed to fly in the face of reality. Going back to my first vacation bible school at 13 and being told “we are all born sinners” and thinking, “Me? What did I ever do, to deserve that tag?”.

  2. I don’t think she’s had much of any influence on our society. We’ve gone almost 100% the opposite direction, blaming others.

    In a personal sense, she stated clear philosophies that I mostly agree with, such as carry your own weight and what is wrong with socialism. To stretch a comparison, much of the humor in Scott Adam’s Dilbert comic strip comes from seeing people in business behaving against Ayn Rand’s common sense philosophy.

    Her appeal is expressing objectivism to those who resonate with its beliefs. You are not alone in your disinterest. I met many people who were not struck as strongly by her ideas as I was.

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