Friday, June 4, 2010

Who is Ayn Rand? by Charles Murray

A daily email from CATO@LIBERTY (you should subscribe) prompted this posting. It comments on the fact that two biographies have recently appeared describing the life and times of Ayn Rand. Apparently neither of them were particularly complementary (I have not read either) to Rand and I was aware of that.
Rand is reviled in most academic and philosophical circles possibly because her philosophy of Objectivism seems so simple (it's not really) and compelling. Her books have sold very well in the past 50 years and are selling even better these days possibly due to the economic crisis around the world (I'll wager they sell better than any other philosopher).
Some would say the books, especially Atlas Shrugged, are even prophetic. I don't think there is any prophesy involved, I think what is happening (and will continue to happen) around the world is a logical consequence of many bad decisions by many people in power over many years. If economics is a science (which I think it is) then certain actions will lead to undesirable  and unintended consequences, much the same as crashing a car into a concrete wall will cause damage and worse.
Anyway, Charles Murray wrote an interesting piece "Who is Ayn Rand", where he talks about Rand and the new bios and I'm thinking its time to reread some of her stuff. Despite her negative portrayal by modern-day academics, her popularity runs circles around any other of her kind, and she remains a positive and important influence on me and millions of others.  

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