Jane In Spain | Indy Week

Jane In Spain 
Member since Aug 17, 2011


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Re: “Why does the right wing worship Ayn Rand?

Rand never went away; she was just probably off your radar (as she was mine).

Love her or hate her, Rand was quite influential across a broad ideological spectrum and in unexpected places - The Whole Earth Catalog, Craigslist, etc. all have some inspiration in the work of Rand. I did not know this until I read Burns' excellent "Goddess of the Market." Indeed, before reading the latter I was quite hostile Rand.

Whatever her inconsistencies (and they existed - just see the aforementioned book), Rand I think is well worth reading. I still read Jefferson after all and I find Jefferson's views of slavery appalling (he was also mistaken on more trivial matters - see his discussion of the formation of the Appalachians in _Notes on Virginia_). I guess some would find such a comparison unappealing, but both are and will continue to be highly influential historical figures.

The fact is that the free market, the freedom to labor, the freedom do what I want to do as an individual, etc. were concepts which Rand honored at a time when drab "company men" were the order of the day; when centralized government ruled by technocrats was the dream of political scientists and those in government (here I am reminded of Halberstam's classic _The Best and Brightest_ - the left used to be very good at questioning the power, motives, etc. of those they were naturally allied with - that seems less the case now, but perhaps I am just missing something). If she was an elitist, etc. in the process, that isn't surprising (iconoclasts of all varieties tend to be elitists).

Rand's particular spin on the counter-culture of the 1960s is something I enjoy learning about and I don't disparage it. The fact that she was instrumental in bringing about the end of the draft is illustrative of her involvement in that counter-culture and her commitment to the individual against the state. Whatever her flaws (and again, if you read Burns you will find them a plenty), without people like Rand the world be a far more drab, more mundane and dare I say less free place.

Posted by Jane In Spain on 08/17/2011 at 7:35 PM

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