Ayn Rand was a writer whose philosophical novels made famous her distaste for government and the poor.

Just The Facts

  1. Wrote several stories including The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
  2. According to her theory of "objectivism," you are a drain upon society if you use public healthcare/unemployment insurance/roads.
  3. Ms. Rand agreed with Catherine MacKinnon's statement that "All sex is rape," but that's a good thing. Somehow.

Ayn Rand's Books

The works of Ayn Rand include Atlas Shrugged, a popular novel on the evils of government regulations; The Fountainhead, the story of rebellious architect Howard Roark struggling to maintain his integrity; and Anthem, which I didn't read because you only need the first two to be trendy.

The Fountainhead was a breathtaking, cliche-defying, rape-justifying read. Roark, its hero, chooses to fight in obscurity rather than sell out on his creative vision of how buildings ought to be designed. Also, he blows up a building because he's a genius and he can do whatever he wants. Sure, at 700 pages it was a little long, but at least it wasn't 700 pages describing cancer metastasis and tort law, like A Civil Action.

This book is like Lord of the Rings, but about Leukemia.

Atlas Shrugged follows Dagny Taggart, railroad heiress/author self insertion, on her quest to have sex with ("get raped by") a series of increasingly powerful men. Also, there's a minor subplot about the economy collapsing because of a guy called John Galt. The title, Atlas Shrugged, is a clever metaphor that one appreciates gradually as the story progresses, until halfway through the story when one character comes out and explains exactly what it means. Also, "halfway through the story" in this case means page 550, because the eleven-hundred page Atlas Shrugged is, according to the world's most "objective" source, the 9th longest book ever written. It used to be 10th, but then they decided that this probably didn't qualify as an actual novel. Of that 1100, about 25% is comprised of monologues on the virtue of selfishness which characters launch into whenever they are faced with staunch opposition, a large group of people or a shiny object. This culminates in a speech in which Rand Galt describes why every economic, political and philosophical idea ever taught is wrong.

Philosophy

Ayn Rand's philosophy of ubermenschian hero worship has become fodder for numerous parodies, critiques, and off-the-cuff references, from common drivel to incredibly high brow comedy; (see The 10 Best Animated Movies for (Traumatizing) Kids.) Her infamy is the result of her uncompromising belief that the only good in life is pursuing one's own interests. The weak deserve no attention, and to help others rather than shape the world to one's ideals is not only a distraction, it is morally repugnant.

So which of the following people do you think Ayn Rand admired?

We used a picture with a title, otherwise you'd have had no clue that was Helen Keller.

Answer: none of them. The Autobahn was wasteful government spending.

Do not jump to the conclusion that she was a racist, however. In fact, Rand actually wrote at length about the irrationality of racism. So as long as you used your mind to its utmost and sought to create rather than loot, Rand was probably going to be incredibly accepting of you no matter who you were. As long as you weren't gay.

Also, she's responsible for Ron Paul. Thanks, Ayn.