How Ayn Rand Seduced Young Men and Helped Make the U.S. into an Uncaring Nation

Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society. . . . To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.— Gore Vidal, 1961

Only rarely in U.S. history do writers transform us to become a more caring or less caring nation. In the 1850s, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was a strong force in making the United States a more humane nation, one that would abolish slavery of African-Americans. A century later, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) helped make the United States into one of the most uncaring nations in the industrialized world, a neo-Dickensian society where health care is for only those who can afford it, and where young people are coerced into huge student-loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Rand’s impact has been widespread and deep. At the iceberg’s visible tip is the influence she’s had over major political figures who have shaped American society. In the 1950s, Ayn Rand read aloud drafts of what was later to become Atlas Shrugged to her “Collective,” Rand’s ironic nickname for her inner circle of young individualists, which included Alan Greenspan, who would serve as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board from 1987 to 2006. In 1966, Ronald Reagan wrote in a personal letter, “Am an admirer of Ayn Rand.” Today, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) credits Rand for inspiring him to go into politics, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) calls Atlas Shrugged his “foundation book.” Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) says Ayn Rand had a major influence on him, and his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is an even bigger fan of hers. A short list of other Rand fans include: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; Christopher Cox, chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission in George W. Bush’s second administration; and former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.

But Rand’s impact on U.S. society and culture goes even deeper.

The Seduction of Nathan Blumenthal

Ayn Rand’s books such as The Virtue of Selfishness and her philosophy that celebrates self-interest and disdains altruism may well be, as Vidal assessed, “nearly perfect in its immorality.” But is Vidal right about evil? Charles Manson, who himself did not kill anyone, is the personification of evil for many of us because of his psychological success at exploiting the vulnerabilities of young people and seducing them to murder. What should we call Ayn Rand’s psychological ability to exploit the vulnerabilities of millions of young people so as to seduce them to kill caring about anyone besides themselves?

While the most famous name that would emerge from Rand’s Collective was Alan Greenspan (tagged “A.G.” by Rand), the second most well-known name to emerge from the Collective was Nathaniel Branden, psychotherapist, author, and “self-esteem” advocate. Before he was Nathaniel Branden, he was Nathan Blumenthal, a fourteen-year-old who read Rand’s The Fountainhead again and again. He later would say, “I felt hypnotized.” He describes how Rand gave him a sense that he could be powerful, that he could be a hero. He wrote one letter to his idol Rand, then a second. To his amazement, she telephoned him, and at age twenty, Nathan received an invitation to Ayn Rand’s home. Shortly after, Nathan Blumenthal announced to the world that he was incorporating Rand in his new name: Nathaniel Branden. And in 1955, with Rand approaching her fiftieth birthday and Branden his twenty-fifth, and both in dissatisfying marriages, Ayn bedded Nathaniel.

What followed sounds straight out of Hollywood, but Rand was straight out of Hollywood, having worked for Cecil B. DeMille. Rand convened a meeting with Nathaniel, his wife Barbara (also a Collective member), and Rand’s own husband Frank. To Nathaniel’s astonishment, Rand convinced both spouses that a time-structured affair—she and Nathaniel were to have one afternoon and one evening a week together—was “reasonable.” Within the Collective, Rand is purported to have never lost an argument. On his trysts at Rand’s New York City apartment, Nathaniel would sometimes shake hands with Frank before he exited. Later, all discovered that Rand’s sweet but passive husband would leave for a bar, where he began his own affair, a self-destructive one with alcohol.

By 1964, the 34-year-old Nathaniel had grown physically weary of the now 59-year-old Ayn. Still sexually dissatisfied in his marriage to Barbara and afraid to end his affair with Rand, Nathaniel began sleeping with a married 24-year-old model, Patrecia Scott. Rand, now “the woman scorned,” called Nathaniel to appear before the Collective, whose nickname had by now lost its irony for both Barbara and Nathaniel. Rand’s justice was swift. She humiliated Nathaniel and then put a curse on him: “If you have one ounce of morality left in you, an ounce of psychological health—you’ll be impotent for the next twenty years! And if you achieve potency sooner, you’ll know it’s a sign of still worse moral degradation!” Rand completed the evening with two welt-producing slaps across Branden’s face. Finally, in a move that Stalin and Hitler would have admired, Rand also expelled poor Barbara from the Collective, declaring her treasonous because Barbara, preoccupied by her own extra-marital affair, had neglected to fill Rand in soon enough on Nathaniel’s extra-extra-marital betrayal. (If anyone doubts Alan Greenspan’s political savvy, keep in mind that he somehow stayed in Rand’s good graces even though he, fixed up by Nathaniel with Patrecia’s twin sister, had double-dated with the outlaws.)

After being banished by Rand, Nathaniel Branden was worried that he might be assassinated by other members of the Collective, so he moved from New York to Los Angeles, where Rand fans were less fanatical. Branden established a lucrative psychotherapy practice and authored approximately 20 books, 10 of them with either “Self” or “Self-Esteem” in the title. Rand and Branden never reconciled, but he remains an admirer of her philosophy of self-interest.

Ayn Rand’s personal life was consistent with her philosophy of not giving a shit about anybody but herself. Rand was an ardent two-pack-a-day smoker, and when questioned about the dangers of smoking, she loved to light up with a defiant flourish and then scold her young questioners on the “unscientific and irrational nature of the statistical evidence.” After an x-ray showed that she had lung cancer, Rand quit smoking and had surgery for her cancer. Collective members explained to her that many people still smoked because they respected her and her assessment of the evidence; and that since she no longer smoked, she ought to tell them. They told her that she needn’t mention her lung cancer, that she could simply say she had reconsidered the evidence. Rand refused.

How Rand’s Philosophy Seduced Young Minds

When I was a kid, my reading included comic books and Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. There wasn’t much difference between the comic books and Rand’s novels in terms of the simplicity of the heroes. What was different was that unlike Superman or Batman, Rand made selfishness heroic, and she made caring about others weakness.

Rand said, “Capitalism and altruism are incompatible. . . . The choice is clear-cut: either a new morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man’s happiness on earth—or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces.” For many young people, hearing that it is “moral” to care only about oneself can be intoxicating, and some get addicted to this idea for life.

I have known several people, professionally and socially, whose lives have been changed by those close to them who became infatuated with Ayn Rand. A common theme is something like this: “My ex-husband wasn’t a bad guy until he started reading Ayn Rand. Then he became a completely selfish jerk who destroyed our family, and our children no longer even talk to him.”

To wow her young admirers, Rand would often tell a story of how a smart-aleck book salesman had once challenged her to explain her philosophy while standing on one leg. She replied: “Metaphysics—objective reality. Epistemology—reason. Ethics—self-interest. Politics—capitalism.” How did that philosophy capture young minds?

Metaphysicsobjective reality. Rand offered a narcotic for confused young people: complete certainty and a relief from their anxiety. Rand believed that an “objective reality” existed, and she knew exactly what that objective reality was. It included skyscrapers, industries, railroads, and ideas—at least her ideas. Rand’s objective reality did not include anxiety or sadness. Nor did it include much humor, at least the kind where one pokes fun at oneself. Rand assured her Collective that objective reality did not include Beethoven’s, Rembrandt’s, and Shakespeare’s realities—they were too gloomy and too tragic, basically buzzkillers. Rand preferred Mickey Spillane and, towards the end of her life, “Charlie’s Angels.”

Epistemologyreason. Rand’s kind of reason was a “cool-tool” to control the universe. Rand demonized Plato, and her youthful Collective were taught to despise him. If Rand really believed that the Socratic Method described by Plato of discovering accurate definitions and clear thinking did not qualify as “reason,” why then did she regularly attempt it with her Collective? Also oddly, while Rand mocked dark moods and despair, her “reasoning” directed that Collective members should admire Dostoyevsky whose novels are filled with dark moods and despair. A demagogue, in addition to hypnotic glibness, must also be intellectually inconsistent, sometimes boldly so. This eliminates challenges to authority by weeding out clear-thinking young people from the flock.

Ethicsself-interest. For Rand, all altruists were manipulators. What could be more seductive to kids who discerned the motives of martyr parents, Christian missionaries, and U.S. foreign aiders? Her champions, Nathaniel Branden still among them, feel that Rand’s view of “self-interest” has been horribly misrepresented. For them, self-interest is her hero architect Howard Roark turning down a commission because he couldn’t do it exactly his way. Some of Rand’s novel heroes did have integrity, however, for Rand there is no struggle to discover the distinction between true integrity and childish vanity. Rand’s integrity was her vanity, and it consisted of getting as much money and control as possible, copulating with whomever she wanted regardless of who would get hurt, and her always being right. To equate one’s selfishness, vanity, and egotism with one’s integrity liberates young people from the struggle to distinguish integrity from selfishness, vanity, and egotism.

Politicscapitalism. While Rand often disparaged Soviet totalitarian collectivism, she had little to say about corporate totalitarian collectivism, as she conveniently neglected the reality that giant U.S. corporations, like the Soviet Union, do not exactly celebrate individualism, freedom, or courage. Rand was clever and hypocritical enough to know that you don’t get rich in the United States talking about compliance and conformity within corporate America. Rather, Rand gave lectures entitled: “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business.” So, young careerist corporatists could embrace Rand’s self-styled “radical capitalism” and feel radical — radical without risk.

Rand’s Legacy

In recent years, we have entered a phase where it is apparently okay for major political figures to publicly embrace Rand despite her contempt for Christianity. In contrast, during Ayn Rand’s life, her philosophy that celebrated self-interest was a private pleasure for the 1 percent but she was a public embarrassment for them. They used her books to congratulate themselves on the morality of their selfishness, but they publicly steered clear of Rand because of her views on religion and God. Rand, for example, had stated on national television, “I am against God. I don’t approve of religion. It is a sign of a psychological weakness. I regard it as an evil.”

Actually, again inconsistent, Rand did have a God. It was herself. She said:

I am done with the monster of “we,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame. And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: “I.”

While Harriet Beecher Stowe shamed Americans about the United State’s dehumanization of African-Americans and slavery, Ayn Rand removed Americans’ guilt for being selfish and uncaring about anyone except themselves. Not only did Rand make it “moral” for the wealthy not to pay their fair share of taxes, she “liberated” millions of  other Americans from caring about the suffering of others, even the suffering of their own children.

39 Responses

  1. Linda Dewey MD
    Linda Dewey MD December 17, 2011 at 9:29 am |

    Thank you for this enlightening article. I long ago dispensed with Ayn Rand’s “Darwinian Socialism” ideology, but it was very interesting to read about these other details of her hypocritical and narcissistic behavior. Have other authors also expounded on these other often overlooked details of her life?

  2. Chuck Cumiskey
    Chuck Cumiskey December 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm |

    I agree that power and corruption seems closely linked in human behavior. As people become a rock star and their followers give them, undo fame and privilege. To be diluted by your own perceived greatness is always a risk. I guess if Gandhi or MLK were in Rand’s shoes (which would not happen) none of this would happened because Rand was corrupted by her own arrogance. One of my favorite quotes some it up by Frank Leahy “Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.” All these people who worshiped Rand were diluted by her fame.
    Rand books give me good insight into why bureaucratic insanity is always a risk. I guess you need to read Rand’s books with an ethically filter. I recommend that people read diverse range of articles and books so we don’t all get the “Fox news virus”.

  3. Matt Holbert
    Matt Holbert December 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm |


    I have found it helpful to think about the contributions — or lack thereof, for some — of Ayn Rand through something called Spiral Dynamics. Spiral Dynamics is a “theory of human development” that has in recent years been championed by Ken Wilber. Indeed, Wilber has spent a considerable amount of time discussing Rand with Nathaniel Branden and I found this discussion to be more enlightening than the polarizing Rand love fest position or the Rand is shit position. Unfortunately, I think that the discussion is behind a pay wall at

    I have to admit that when I heard a taped recording of a speech that Rand gave to the cadets at West Point (in the 60’s?) she came across as a pretty nasty person…

  4. John
    John December 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm |

    Great piece. I have noticed a difference between the reactions of various Americans toward the problems afflicting young Americans today. In my experience, the oldest Americans, those who grew up before Rand’s writings, tend to be more sympathetic toward struggling young people. On the other hand, I have also noticed that many Baby Boomers and others who grew up after Rand’s writings are much more dismissive or do not care at all about the young. This is all anecdotal evidence, but I still think there might be something to it.

  5. siamdave
    siamdave January 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm |

    There is now a ‘social democracy’ response to Rand’s dysfunctional (for most of us) world – Green Island .

  6. ORAXX
    ORAXX January 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |

    Had our distant ancestors adopted Rand’s absurd philosophy the question would be moot, as our species would have gone extinct long ago. Humans survived through cooperation not selfishness.

  7. Camile
    Camile February 12, 2012 at 4:42 am |

    The one stpteoryee I get about Objectivism is that it is not compatible with a religious philosophy. Is that also a myth/misconception or is that true?

  8. Victor
    Victor February 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

    Two pniots:(1) You and some other libertarians may consider Objectivists to be libertarians, but Objectivists adamently reject that classification. Frankly, I think that the are correct to do so, since Objectivism is a closed dogmatism that demands that one not think too hard about the canonical slogans that comprise the faith. Libertarianism is not. (2) You may think that Rand and her followers should have been sophisticated enough to distinguish between egoism and selfishness, but a close reading of the essay entitled “The Virtue of Selfishness” in the collection of the same title indicates to the contrary. Indeed, much of Objectivism is based on equivocations between quite different concepts.

  9. Patricia Williams
    Patricia Williams March 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm |

    I read Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ when I was only 19 (now 73) and internalized the premises at a time when I was coming up to my first vote: I voted Conservative for the only time in my life! Happily, I came back to my natural small -l liberalism. I ahve re-read it since and am now re-reading again and can see why “Greed” became the watchword on Wall Street: wasnt it required reading for MBA students in the ’90s?

  10. Linda
    Linda January 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

    I watched the movie of Ayn Rand during her years of completing ‘Atlas Shrugged’. I have asked myself if she intended to draw this out as long as she could simply because of Nathan and their “relationship”. I realize that
    my opinion on this is simply my opinion. However, I do think that Ayn was mentally ill. She had a warped sense of everything good and noble. Her disbelief that anyone could have any good in them and share that goodness without an ulterior motive made her truly a narcissistic personality. She only thought of herself as the ultimate power of her life. Yet, think of all those who helped throughout her years as a struggling author. She could not have completed any of her works without the support of Frank O’Connor. She was truly a piece of work in her own small mind because there was no room for anyone else. She was truly her own person, but her soul will spend an eternity in hell. Although some of you will call her an amazing woman, she was a despicable human being who care for no one other than herself.

  11. addis berhanu
    addis berhanu March 19, 2014 at 7:27 am |

    you all the real collective parasites.are you black mailing her?you don’t know nothing about communism or strong government.enjoy your democracy and individual rights.talking shit.I wish in my country (Ethiopia) to distribute my legend AYN RAND books.I’m so sure it will cure “every”human being.

  12. rob
    rob March 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm |

    Yeah like plato believed in reason. He is the greatest creator of myths for all time. he is the reason we have the crazy belief in the transmigration of souls and similar rubbish. Religion in fact is plato for ignorant plebs.

  13. rob
    rob March 22, 2014 at 7:22 pm |

    I suppose governments stealing from everyone to line their own pockets with money has made the world a more caring place.

  14. rob
    rob March 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm |

    Who here believes in religion? because if you do, you believe
    in the supernatural and not reason.

  15. Michael Simms
    Michael Simms March 22, 2014 at 8:23 pm |

    I’ve read your entire article and ALL it does is BADMOUTH Ayn Rand. You haven’t PROVEN anything whatsoever about Ayn Rand. I’ve studied Rand for many years, and she stood for many things including being a staunch supporter for INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS. That’s as caring as you can get. Do your research and be honest. I have NEVER had ANY problem with her philosophy at all. It is a PRO-REASON and PRO-LIFE philosophy. What could be more caring.

  16. Peggy
    Peggy April 10, 2014 at 6:33 pm |

    Michael, I agree…I have also read her books, and what she advocates is not immorality at all… it is rational self-interest, and a strict principle of respecting the rights of others, never forcing anyone against their will – the non-aggression principal. It is those who advocate socialism who breed selfishness – trying to live at the expense of others, with no respect for other people, as if others are their property to control.

  17. Peggy
    Peggy April 10, 2014 at 6:33 pm |

    Michael, I agree…I have also read her books, and what she advocates is not immorality at all… it is rational self-interest, and a strict principle of respecting the rights of others, never forcing anyone against their will – the non-aggression principal. It is those who advocate socialism who breed selfishness – trying to live at the expense of others, with no respect for other people, as if others are their property to control.

  18. Brandon
    Brandon May 10, 2014 at 7:55 am |

    Ayn Rand- A false philsopher,hypocrite and adultress!

  19. Matthew
    Matthew June 6, 2014 at 7:46 am |

    A large element of Objectivism that isn’t taken into account enough when applying Rand’s philosophy to real life is: Reason. Or Rational thinking. Any system of government, economics, or philosophy can be corrupted. Objectivism in its purest form would classify greed as irrational and therefore not to be practiced. The corrupt leaderships, the big corporations, the devastation of nature, all of these things are not a product or result of Objectivism gone awry, but betrayors of its core principles. They are the product of irrational minds. Only irrational minds make it their goal to grab the biggest piece of the pie. Ayn Rand was terribly flawed as a person but she had some very inspiring ideas. But you should never fully prescribe to one individual’s philosophy anyways. That too would be irrational. Objectivism is not just for Rand followers. Its for everyone.

  20. Lenny Rasch
    Lenny Rasch August 21, 2014 at 8:27 am |

    Most of the abuses that are blamed on selfishness are actually forms of fraud. Fraud (deceiving others about the true nature of a transaction, for example) is absolutely considered immoral by Objectivism. Rational modifies “self-interest” in some very significant ways. If you attack Rand’s ethics by blaming the thefts of Kenneth Lay and many others on self-interest, then you are ignoring much of the Objectivist ethics.
    It is, however, true that Rand’s original philosophy does not incorporate any feelings of concern and support of humanity. For a more benevolent Objectivist approach see David Kelly’s works.

  21. mjbeers
    mjbeers September 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm |

    The problem I have with her heroes ,Roark and Galt types, is that they are no more than myths . The world she creates in her fiction does not exist, it is a mythical view .

    In reality any so-called great inventor creators have many faults, and are not what she depicts, Howard Roark does not exist.

    There has never been a group of persons who are indispensible, Edison was not the only one working on the light bulb, and Edison was way off about how to transmit electricity, which was defined correctly by Tesla as alternating current.

    You can deconstruct every so called great inventor in history, they are not indispensable.

    And success usually goes straight to their heads, afterwards they become a problem to other creators because of the fame and wealth they possess.

  22. Peter Novy
    Peter Novy September 17, 2014 at 6:36 pm |

    It is funny how people take false information as real! So many things you wrore here are false and most of reactions are in your favor…

    I am not saying Ayn was saint, she definitelly had some personal issues (how to solve lonliness, how to belong and at the same time be indepedent), but you can find those negatives on every human – we are not the heros from books – you have issue too am am absolutelly sure about that. But you are not so famous (and for good reason) as Rayn is, so nobody cares about YOU.

    Let me just stress two things:
    1) If you go to private store do you see uncaring people? No becouse if someone cares about self, cares about keeping in positive touch with everybody around and have GOOD FEELING that everybody is able to take care about him or her self. Nation of smart, responsible people is not uncaring. Only who need others to care about them ARE uncaring.
    2) Seduction of young Nathaniel Brandon is not seduction of the child. He was adult and it is his position to comment her action NOT YOURS (who just ride on the hack of the someone who did not know you and probably would not care to know).

  23. Roberto Cucinero
    Roberto Cucinero October 29, 2014 at 4:03 pm |

    Ayn Rand is like many academics and intellectuals who fetishize some particular angle or idea, possibly for deep personal reasons, and reduce all of reality to that aspect. Yes, people can be jealous. Yes, you can make the law be an expression of jealousy. But you can also suffer from pride and greed and Ayn certainly suffered from that.

  24. Jens Efsen
    Jens Efsen November 17, 2014 at 8:34 am |

    Dear Bruce

    Ayn Rand has been a valuable influence on my life. Even her somewhat unusually dysfunctional love life has been instructive.

    You fail to grasp the anger that drives her. You should see Apocalypto and Slum Dog Millionaire and then read Anthem. Sometimes the anger toward the evil is so consuming that there is no energy left to speak much of compassion for the tortured, but you will find her compassion in Anthem.

    Government charity is an oxymoron.

    If humanity is so banal that individuals cannot be trusted to provide charity where it is deserved, without being forced to do so by the 51% who fear life without a handout, then there would be precious little point to saving it – as Ayn Rand was devoted to doing.

    Ayn Rand is a champion for the same truth that Adam Smith came up with in The Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations.

    I guess your next venture will be to find something in Adam Smith’s life with which to intoxicate morons. (There is mental illness. Many are still wondering about Gore Vidal)

  25. Don
    Don November 29, 2014 at 12:15 pm |

    Lots of people here are LYING about Ayn. NOWHERE and at no time did she say that nobody has any good in them, for instance, (altho EYE definitely belief that such is true of a about 10% of the population.

    Yes, Ayn, aged 50-60, did have an affair with Branden (aged 25-35) while both of them were married to other people. She also smoked, in defiance of the fact that it was ruining her health, and she refused to exercise or diet, and she used speed, too. But her work is breathtaking in its scope, clarity and depth.

  26. Brant
    Brant December 8, 2014 at 7:56 am |

    Ayn Rand demonized is no more real than Ayn Rand the saint. Either way turns her into a tar baby. It’s her fault if she’s embraced instead of rationally and critically considered? That’s my criticism of this article’s author–he’s stuck all over her and hardly knows it. He’s neither an Objectivist nor an objectivist, although implicitly pretending the latter it’s all begging the question of where he’s really coming from, not that there’s any need to know that.

  27. Brant
    Brant December 8, 2014 at 8:23 am |

    I should have made clear in my previous comment that I was referring to Bruce Levine only in respect to this article of his about Ayn Rand. Reviewing, for the first time, many of his other articles I am generally in agreement with his approach and orientation. It’s part of my own journey from conservatism to Objectivism to a more indiviualistic and libertarian orientation. I have gone, for instance, from despising Ralph Nader to despising corporatism. However, I still like the Corvair while despising the company that followed it with that piece of crap they called the “Vega.”

    Most people don’t understand the role of elites in controlling and running the world. And they have the power to blow it up, which makes them extremely dangerous.

  28. Wisedad
    Wisedad February 1, 2015 at 5:54 am |

    The author of this article, Bruce Levine, either did not read Atlas Shrugged, or he misunderstood it(as many readers do). Rand was trying to explain something fundamental to America – that collectivism seems good at first, but it leads to evil and totalitarianism.

    Read Atlas Shrugged for YOURSELF. It is like climbing a mountain, but if you make it to the top, you will understand the world, Rand, and yourself….better.

    One last thing, Rand loved America. Atlas Shrugged was her love letter to America and a warning to America. The warning was something you have heard before, but never known consciously in you own life…that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  29. Wisedad
    Wisedad February 1, 2015 at 6:02 am |

    Yes! Alan Greedspan became a betrayer of Objectivism and Any Rand.

  30. laurel
    laurel December 24, 2015 at 2:29 pm |

    Great article. Chappy Chanumas and Kwanzaa

  31. Margarita Rivera Swank
    Margarita Rivera Swank January 9, 2016 at 1:14 am |

    Wall Mart is a classic example of the Ayn Rand non sense philosophy. Obtaining millions of dollars every year by paying the people working for them salaries that force them to ask for food stamps to feed themselves are the result of the Anarchic style we are living now in this country. Wall Mart employees are the ones called “parasites” by Republicans and Libertarians. I ask myself. Who are the real “parasites” ?

  32. Marvin
    Marvin January 19, 2016 at 8:07 am |

    Ayn Rand…The true American Anti-Christ!!!

  33. Lon Von Fish
    Lon Von Fish May 21, 2016 at 6:10 pm |

    Wow… there are A LOT of folks here that truly have no conception of what Ayn Rand’s philosophy is. I am absolutely sure that the folks that are negatively representing Rand and her philosophy have not studied her work in any reasonable way. I have studied her work critically for a decade. The comments on this site are so far off of the mark, that I can’t see the point of engaging in any discussion. The most of you all have condemnded Ayn Rand and have rendered a verdict. I am also sure that this finality in your perspective is unchangeable. It’s a shame because the search for the truth should be our goal as rational, responsible, thinking men and women. It appears that this is an unwanted value among this group. Just remember, there are only 2 kinds of people in this world- tose that want to be left alone, and those who won’t leave you alone. Which are you? Good Day.

  34. agung
    agung June 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm |

    The danger of her idea is that it leads people to extreme individualism and preservation of self interest. It is absolutely absurd because as human, we simply cannot survive without the support system around us.The baby is hopeless without his/her parents or family or other support system.

    Ironically, her life is nothing but a testimony of her philosophical flaws.While she can easily pursue her own self interest upon her followers,she strongly react to the people that she thinks annoy or betray her,eventhough they basically just advance their own interests; a perfect implementation of her objectivism philosophy.

    Unfortunately, some people really take this way of thinking into their heart and simply life as a egoistic narcissistic personality. Worse than that, they try to implement this philosophy in other areas of life, as Greenspan did in economy.And we all reap the disaster because of this flaws ideology.

  35. Radebeulman
    Radebeulman July 19, 2016 at 2:09 pm |

    Grammar? Good God!

  36. Closet Non-Compliant
    Closet Non-Compliant August 8, 2016 at 1:53 pm |

    I consider myself a capitalist. The truth is, selfishness and greed will destroy any society regardless of its political or economic philosophy.

    That said, my cousin became a very selfish atheist after reading Ayn Rand. I have never felt the desire to read her novels or nonfiction.

    I would do so, however, before writing a rebuttal of her philosophy. I assume Dr. Levine has.

  37. Jill Joybelle VanSise
    Jill Joybelle VanSise November 10, 2016 at 9:04 am |

    Ayn Rand did not say,”Care for nobody except yourself.” She said caring for another
    must be based on a VALUE; she did not say that that value must be monetary or
    financial. (In “The Fountainhead”, she has Roark supporting Steve Mallory fi-
    nancially for some time; their friendship originates from Roark’s respect for Mal-
    lory as a sculptor). She denounced government subsidy of corporations (see “Cap-
    italism: the Unkown Ideal”.) In “Atlas Shrugged”, Orren Boyle, a character pre-
    sented as contemptible, is a tycoon who started out “with a hundred-thousand-
    dollar loan from the government.”

    She was quite firm that one’s right to live one’s own life must be respected in
    others, as well as in oneself.

  38. Matthew Faccenda
    Matthew Faccenda April 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm |

    I was once a self-described Objectivist in Highschool, around ages 16 to 17. Then I went on to college and studied Philosophy as my major, and realized, then, how facile and incomplete was her understanding of how the human mind actually works when it “reasons.” I am not talking about logical proofs, which ascertain ‘validity’, I am talking about speaking of ‘Reason’ as if it were a monolithic totem of the human spirit, which need not be encumbered by ‘irrational emotions.’ In fact, OBJECTIVELY speaking, there is no such thing as ‘objective reasoning’ in cognitive science, and this has been demonstrated in countless studies. Every thought we have is more or less a hybrid process. Without emotion, Reason would be aimless and unable to attenutate itself. Without Reason, with emotion as a primary M.O., life would end tragically and destructively. Any real philosophical account of cognition has to change and evolve along with the expansion of scientific discoveries. She inhabited a binary world of false-dichotomies, and was horroundesly ignorant about the complexities of consciousness, which topples like dominos her ethics, empistemology and metaphysics. Of course she cannot be blamed for not having data not yet available, but the Ancient Greeks long-entertained and understood what science can now concern, while she refused to even entertain the possibility.

    I think what is most interesting to mention, in an attempt to understand the complex character of Rand, one has to remember that she and her family escaped a horrific version of collectivism run among, and therefore very likely experienced severe PTSD and mood-disorders the rest of her life. In effect then, she is not an original thinker at all, she is a reactionary one, in the same way that Richard Dawkins and those he criticizes are two sides of the same coin—strident, unflinchingly certain with the absolute ‘belief’ that Reason was the preminent element of human cognition and behavior—both are fundamentalists, but in different senses. I think Rand was a damaged person, from her childhood onward, and the imperative of self-preservation mutated into an elaborate (but easily refutable) rationalization that became Objectivism. Incidentally, I have read all of her works, understand what she is trying to express, I attended Objectivist events and went to see lectures by other Objectivists like David Kelly. Then, as I grew up, and realized the world is far more complicated and nuanced than her philosophy and its categorical errors, she was jettisoned out of my mind’s airlock, left to be a footnote in young adulthood. I am grateful I read her, because it helped me understand how foolish and naive I was at that time in my life, but that, I have total empathy for myself and others.

  39. Chris
    Chris September 27, 2017 at 1:36 pm |

    Levine (the author here) either did not read, or did not understand, Rand’s observations.

    Rand valued America and gave much to it. Her central philosophy defended the right of an individual to his life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness; insofar as Levine opposes this, he is immoral, an ideological enemy of America the idea, and no proponent of a “more caring” nation.

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