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Ayn Rand – Uncyclopedia – Wikia

Posted: July 31, 2016 at 5:56 am

Ayn Rand: with her bug-eyed stare and her extremely sharp shoulder pads, many proclaimed her to be the perfect woman.

Ayn Rand (born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbum, February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-born (or “preemie”) philosopher and individualist, concoction of the RAND Corporation, and founder of the school of objectivism. Objectivism is a populist political philosophy in the American classical liberal tradition.

Ayn Rand herself is a controversial figure, being the only known example in history of someone who was completely self-made, assembling her own atoms from the void.

She didn’t need anybody at all.


For anything.

She rarely even needed herself.

And the feeling was mutual.

Children: According to reports, Ayn Rand used to be a child at one point.

Ayn Rand gave birth to herself in Czarian Russia, just to show that she was tough enough. Born at the age of zero, Ayn immediately claimed to be 3. She set about teaching herself Russian– considered a difficult task at any age. At first, Ayn subsisted on milk stolen from local cattle before moving on to directly killing them. The local farmers referred to her as “” the “cattle hacker.” Or something (Russian is hard!).

Ayn was known for her ability to make her own clothes from raw materials – not that she needed clothes. At the age of 2, she was able to not only make the blanket she was coddled in, but to coddle herself: the beginning of a destructive life-long habit. Living far away from civilization, Ayn began her tutelage under Ayn Rand, the Russian-born philosopher and individualist, founder of the school of Objectivism.

Ayn’s solitary life came to an end when she was asked by the new communist government to share her individuality with the state. The proletariat chafed, claiming their union with Rand would make them Aynus. Rand didn’t like this much either. By “this” I mean sharing. Not authoritarian Marxist-Leninist style socialism – only sharing. Just the concept of sharing.

Sharing is something learned by the time a normal child enters kindergarten.

Ayn was granted a visa in 1925 and a mastercard in 1927. She visited her relatives in Chicago and never returned to Russia. The “flying contraption” she created over that weekend out of sticks, held together by borscht, to fly the 10,000+ miles was the prototype used for our stealth bombers today.

Rand decided to enter the world of writing in her early 20’s without ever having actually talked to a human being. Her early fiction, especially her first novel, “We the Drivelling” was was an autobiographical account of her Benzedrine addiction. As with most of her early works, it used ideas stolen from Nietzsche and later appropriated by the Nazis.

Ayn’s early writings made basic assumptions about humanity, such as their existence and weakness for cheese. She only needed to study humans for a few seconds before she began thinking of herself as better than them. This is when her fiction began to take on a life of its own, and her life a fiction of its own.

Rand, who wasn’t hip to democracy’s jive, was unwillingly pulled into it. In the 1940s, after allowing a man (yes, another human being) to marry her, she wrote her first real novel, “The Fountainhead,” a story about a guy who kills people because they aren’t as cool as him. The novel also features clues to the whereabouts of Rand’s own murder victims. Senator Joseph McCarthy said of the novel: “Rand gives good fountainhead.”

Rand, who still survived off the land during this time – a handful of dirt she dubbed “aynland” – started the philosophical movement called “Objectivism”: So called because it is highly objectionable… not like those OTHER philosophies. Rand thought about calling her philosophy “Existentialism” but that name was already being used by the Cartesian Dualists. Ayn Rand herself thought of Objectivism as the responsible son in a family of “total retards. Just… just total retards.”

Ayn did not like retards.

Rand’s fictional Superman John Galt, poster-boy for the mentally unstable.

Rand’s Objectivist utopia, exemplified in her best known novel, Atlas Shrugged, revolves around “John Galt,” a middle manager who rose through the ranks at a local television station without any help from anyone, ever, at all. The novel was written before television became irrelevant, and modern Objectivists usually replace “television station” with the more contemporary “dial-up modem”

Galt and the others at the station are being taxed for creating programming which is simply too good, such as “Doogie Howser, M.D.” “Charles in Charge,” and “My Mother the Car”.

The nightmarish dystopian vision of a government which provides a social safety net for the poor and sick and a stable living for all its people is the central focus in the book. John Galt continues being rank until he becomes rich, at which point he blows up some houses.

The book is interspersed with long-winded diatribes, popular with jackasses. Ayn loved jackasses.

Despite being a piece of crap – or perhaps for this reason – Atlas Shrugged became an international bestseller. In an interview with Mike Wallace, Rand declared herself “the most thinker alive”. After completing the novel, Mike Wallace fell into a severe depression.

Ayn Rand believed people who enjoyed sharing would also enjoy complete slavery. In Atlas Shrugged, the punishment for sharing was instant and complete slavery. According to Rand, because sharing actually lessens the amount of a goods available to you, it is bad. Sharing means less good. It bad. Bad, sharing! Bad. She is the origin of the term “random”.

According to Rand, poverty is Society’s punishment for being poor.

When Ayn first came to America, her first sight was of the New York skyline: a testimony to the phallusy of the American Wet Dream. At the time of construction, it was possible to send one’s children through college by being a construction worker; whereas nowadays it’s more likely for college students to end up buried in construction sites.

Rand’s “family” traditionally worshiped the Peloponnesian god of luaus, Big Papa Ono. Leaving behind the idea of constant flower necklaces and suckling pigs, Rand denied the existence of God her entire life. In the spirit of fair play, God denied the existence of Ayn Rand. Although every single member of Congress who purports to be an Objectivist identifies as a Christian; nobody cares.

Her descendant, Yoeman Janice Rand, despised The Federation.


Other fiction:


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Ayn Rand – Uncyclopedia – Wikia

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Frequently Asked Questions | The Ayn Rand Institute

Posted: July 14, 2016 at 4:36 pm

About Ayn Rands Life

How do you pronounce the name Ayn?

Ayn rhymes with mine.

What is the origin of the name Ayn Rand?

Ayn Rand, born Alisa Rosenbaum, based her professional first name on a Finnish one (see Letters of Ayn Rand). Archival research suggests that Rand may have been an abbreviation of her Russian surname. (The story claiming that the name was borrowed from her Remington Rand typewriter is incorrect.)

Where can I find out more about Ayn Rands life?

Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, February 2, 1905. She died in New York City, March 6, 1982. She is buried in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York, next to her husband, Frank OConnor (who died in 1979). Learn more about her here or watch a free, online documentary-style course tracing Rands life from the perspective of her goal to become a fiction writer, Ayn Rand: A Writers Life.

How can I find out more about Ayn Rands intellectual and artistic development?

A few suggestions:

Who is Leonard Peikoff?

Dr. Leonard Peikoff is Ayn Rands legal heir. For the last thirty years of Rands life, he was her student, associate and friend. Today he is the foremost authority on her philosophy. Learn more at his website.

What kind of research, writing and scholarship has been produced about Ayn Rands thought?

There is growing interest in Rand’sthought. Notable examples:

How can I obtain permission to reprint or anthologize Ayn Rands writings?

If you are a professor, please follow these instructions for submitting such requests. Others should direct their requests to

I would like to perform Miss Rands play Night of January 16th. To whom should I write?

For professional production rights requests, contact: Curtis Brown, Ltd. Ten Astor Place New York, NY 10003

For dramatic performance or film/television permission requests, please contact the Curtis Brown, Ltd. film department at (212) 473-5400, ext. 183.

For amateur production rights requests, contact: Random House Permissions Department 1745 Broadway, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10019 Mail your request, or fax to (212) 572-6066.

Also note that the only version that Ayn Rand wanted performed is the one that is in the paperback book of Night of January 16th, published by Plume. (Due to many mix-ups, this is likely not the version you will get if you use standard means for obtaining plays.)

Where can I find a listing of foreign editions of Ayn Rands works?

This list is updated periodically.

Have any of Ayn Rands novels been adapted into movies?

Yes: The Fountainhead,We the Livingand Atlas Shrugged.

The Fountainhead was made into a movie in 1949, starring Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal and Raymond Massey. Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay but was not fully satisfied with the movie.

We the Living was made into a two-part movie in 1942 in Fascist Italy, starring Alida Valli, Fosco Giachetti and Rossano Brazzi. It was made without Ayn Rands knowledge or consent, but she later saw the movie and thought that, overall, it was well done and that Valli gives a great performance as Kira Argounova.

Parts I and II of Atlas Shrugged have been made into low-budget movies after Ayn Rands death.

Where can I read Ayn Rands view on . . . ?

Is ARI or anyone else formally vested with the right to speak on behalf of Ayn Rands philosophy, Objectivism?

No. Objectivism is the name of Ayn Rands philosophy, which is presented in the material she wrote or endorsed.

ARI advocates her philosophy and applies its principles to many issues and events, including ones Rand herself never discussed. Each individual must judge for himself whether ARIs positions are consistent with the principles of Objectivism.

In a similar connection, Rand wrote: I urge the readers to use their own judgment as to whether a particular article is or is not consonant with Objectivist principles. Remember, it is a fundamental tenet of Objectivism that one must not accept ideas on faith.

How can I financially support ARI?

Learn more about how you can contribute.

Im a contributor and I have some questions; whom should I contact?

Please email Donor Services or call 949-222-6550, ext. 204.

What is ARIs view of the libertarian movement?

No. But the meaning of the term libertarian has been changing over the decades. Consequently, individuals or organizations that today call themselves libertarian may or may not hold the ideas we oppose.

The libertarianism we oppose is a specific set of ideas, the essence of which is a dedicated, thoroughgoing subjectivism. Libertarianism in this sense was spearheaded by Murray Rothbard and his followers in the 1960s and 1970s. Its political expression is anarchism, or anarcho-capitalism as they often term it, and a foreign policy of rabid anti-Americanism (which they pass off as non-interventionism).

The libertarians, in this usage of the term, plagiarize Ayn Rands non-initiation of force principle and convert it into an axiom, denying the need for and relevance of philosophical fundamentals not only the underlying ethics, but also the underlying metaphysics and epistemology.

This is the anti-objective, anti-philosophic position that, in 1985, ARIs then-chairman of the board, Peter Schwartz, properly denounced in his essay Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty. That comprehensive critique of libertarianism exposes the movements essence: nihilism. (A condensed version of this article is published in The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought under the same title.) We agreed with and continue to agree with the essence of Peter Schwartzs analysis.

As Mr. Schwartz demonstrated at length, this libertarianism declares that the value of liberty and the evil of initiating force are self-evident primaries, needing no justification or even explanation leaving undefined such key concepts as liberty, force, justice, good, and evil. It claims compatibility with all views in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics even subjectivism, mysticism, skepticism, altruism, and nihilism substituting hate the state for intellectual content.

This is why Ayn Rand opposed it from the start.

In print in 1972 Rand issued this warning to individuals interested in defending capitalism:

(For more of Rands comments on the libertarian movement, see here.)

ARI has always viewed the movement holding this set of ideas and attitudes as an enemy of capitalism and freedom, and we continue to do so. We will never sanction, cooperate with, or collaborate with any organization that advocates libertarianism in this sense. This policy is required both as a matter of integrity and in intellectual self-defense. The principle involved was identified by Ayn Rand: In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins. [The Anatomy of Compromise, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal]

When this subjectivist approach to philosophy and politics dominated the libertarian movement in the 70s and 80s, ARI refused to cooperate with anyone belonging to it. Such cooperation would have constituted a sanction of the anti-ideology of libertarianism. However, today we see evidence to suggest that there is no longer a cohesive libertarian movement. The movement has become fragmented and leaderless (intellectually as well as organizationally), and the term libertarian is progressively losing its former meaning.

Thus when someone or some organization today calls itself, or is called by others, libertarian, one should not assume that this means the person or organization is part of the anti-philosophical libertarian movement. What matters, in evaluating these individuals and organizations, are the ideas they actually hold and advocate.

The term libertarian has been used increasingly over the last few years to mean a vague leaning toward liberty rather than government control. Many people, including reporters and commentators, sense that neither liberals nor conservatives are advocates of freedom. Commentators need a different term to describe those who seem to be more on the side of liberty and will often use the term libertarian.

However, none of the three political terms liberal, conservative, or libertarian has a clearly defined meaning, because there exist no clearly defined ideologies. Consequently, the fact that today someone calls himself or is called by others a libertarian says virtually nothing about his political viewpoint: he could be a religionist, an anarchist, a laissez-faire capitalist, a middle-of-the-roader, etc. In the current terminological confusion, we look to the content of the ideas advocated, not just to the label attached to them.

Objectivism is not liberal, conservative, or libertarian. Objectivism has a clear, well-defined, and unique view of political principles, which exist as outgrowths of their philosophical foundations. The best way for an Objectivist to describe his social-political position is to use the terms pro-capitalist and laissez-faire capitalism. Capitalism, in Rands definition, is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned. [What Is Capitalism? Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal] As Rand herself wrote in 1962 to describe her position:

Objectivism is a philosophical movement; since politics is a branch of philosophy, Objectivism advocates certain political principles specifically, those of laissez-faire capitalism as the consequence and the ultimate practical application of its fundamental philosophical principles. It does not regard politics as a separate or primary goal, that is: as a goal that can be achieved without a wider ideological context. . . . Objectivists are not “conservatives.” We are radicals for capitalism; we are fighting for that philosophical base which capitalism did not have and without which it was doomed to perish. [Choose Your Issues, The Objectivist Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1]

Of course an advocate of Rands philosophy can also simply use the term Objectivist to describe his political ideology, naming individual rights as the essential political principle. These terms are in much wider circulation today, thanks to increasing public familiarity with Rands thought.

There still exist organizations committed to the inherently corrupt anti-ideology of libertarianism, in the earlier sense of the word. ARI does not deal with such organizations. Although dealing with an ideological organization does not necessarily imply ideological agreement (as, say, when ARI co-sponsors a debate), it does imply that one considers the organization legitimate which, in the case of the anti-ideology libertarians, we do not.

But ARI does seek to work with other organizations on select issues or projects in order to increase ARIs reach and impact. We assess whether it is proper, and beneficial to our mission, to work with a particular organization, and if so, in what form and under what conditions. For many years now, and especially as ARI has grown to enjoy the resources and manpower necessary to do so, we have been dealing with outside scholars and organizations.

Some of the guidelines ARI applies in deciding whether or not to deal with another organization are:

Judging whether to work with another organization, even for a specific and delimited project, is often difficult. ARI does not take such decisions lightly.

Is the Foundation for the New Intellectual still active?

No, it has been dissolved; please contact Kathy Cross, Gift & Estate Planning Manager at ARI, if you have further questions.

Read more:

Frequently Asked Questions | The Ayn Rand Institute

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The Fountainhead – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: July 8, 2016 at 7:56 am

The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand, and her first major literary success. More than 6.5million copies of the book have been sold worldwide.

The Fountainhead’s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who refuses to compromise his artistic and personal vision for worldly recognition and success. The book follows his battle to practice what the public sees as modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite an establishment centered on tradition-worship. How others in the novel relate to Roark demonstrates Rand’s various archetypes of human character, all of which are variants between Roark, the author’s ideal man of independence and integrity, and what she described as the “second-handers”. The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allow the novel to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work. Roark is Rand’s embodiment of what she believes to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand’s personal belief that individualism trumps collectivism.

The manuscript was rejected by twelve publishers before editor Archibald Ogden at the Bobbs-Merrill Company risked his job to get it published. Despite mixed reviews from the contemporary media, the book gained a following by word of mouth and became a bestseller. The novel was made into a Hollywood film in 1949. Rand wrote the screenplay, and Gary Cooper played Roark.

In the spring of 1922, Howard Roark is expelled from architecture school for refusing to adhere to the school’s conventionalism. He believes buildings should be sculpted to fit their location, material, and purpose, while his critics insist that adherence to historical convention is essential. He goes to New York City to work for Henry Cameron, a disgraced architect whom Roark admires. Peter Keating, a popular but vacuous fellow student who Roark sometimes helped with projects, has graduated with high honors. He also moves to New York to take a job at the prestigious architectural firm of Francon & Heyer, where he ingratiates himself with senior partner Guy Francon. Roark and Cameron create inspired work, but rarely receive recognition, whereas Keating’s ability to flatter brings him quick success. Keating works to remove rivals within his firm, and eventually he is made a partner.

After Cameron retires, Keating hires Roark, who is soon fired for insubordination by Francon. Roark works briefly at another firm, then opens his own office. He has trouble finding clients and eventually closes it down. He takes a job at a granite quarry owned by Francon. There he meets Francon’s daughter Dominique, a columnist for The New York Banner, while she is staying at her family’s estate nearby. There is an immediate attraction between them, leading to a rough sexual encounter that Dominique later describes as a rape. Shortly after, Roark is notified that a client is ready to start a new building, and he returns to New York.

Ellsworth M. Toohey, author of a popular architecture column in the Banner, is an outspoken socialist who shapes public opinion through his column and his circle of influential associates. Toohey sets out to destroy Roark through a smear campaign. Toohey manipulates one of Roark’s clients into suing Roark. At the trial, prominent architects (including Keating) testify that Roark’s style is unorthodox and illegitimate. Dominique speaks in Roark’s defense, but he loses the case. Dominique decides that since she cannot have the world she wants, in which men like Roark are recognized for their greatness, she will live completely and entirely in the world she has, which shuns Roark and praises Keating. She offers Keating her hand in marriage. Dominique turns her entire spirit over to Keating, doing and saying whatever he wants, including persuading potential clients to hire him instead of Roark.

To win Keating a prestigious commission offered by Gail Wynand, the owner and editor-in-chief of the Banner, Dominique agrees to sleep with Wynand. When they meet, Wynand is so strongly attracted to Dominique that he buys Keating’s divorce from her, after which Wynand and Dominique are married. Wanting to build a home for himself and his new wife, Wynand discovers that every building he likes was designed by Roark, so he enlists Roark to build the new house. Roark and Wynand become close friends, although Wynand does not know about Roark’s past relationship with Dominique.

Washed up and out of the public eye, Keating pleads with Toohey for his influence to get the commission for the much-sought-after Cortlandt housing project. Keating knows his most successful projects were aided by Roark, so he asks for Roark’s help in designing Cortlandt. Roark agrees to design it in exchange for complete anonymity and Keating’s promise that it will be built exactly as designed. When Roark returns from a long trip with Wynand, he finds that the Cortlandt design has been changed despite his agreement with Keating. Roark dynamites the building to prevent the subversion of his vision.

Roark is arrested and his action is widely condemned, but Wynand orders his newspapers to defend him. The Banner’s circulation drops and the workers go on strike. Faced with the choice of closing the paper or reversing his stance, Wynand gives in; the newspaper publishes a denunciation of Roark. At his trial for the dynamiting, Roark makes a speech about the value of ego and the need to remain true to oneself. The jury finds him not guilty. Roark also wins over Dominique, who leaves Wynand for Roark. Wynand, who has finally grasped the nature of the “power” he thought he held, shuts down the Banner and asks Roark to design one last building for him, a skyscraper that will testify to the supremacy of man. Eighteen months later, the Wynand Building is under construction and Dominique, now Roark’s wife, enters the site to meet him atop its steel framework.

In 1928, Cecil B. DeMille charged Rand with writing a script for what would become the film Skyscraper. The original story, by Dudley Murphy, was about two construction workers involved in building a New York skyscraper who are rivals for a woman’s love. Rand rewrote the story, transforming the rivals into architects. One of them, Howard Kane, was an idealist dedicated to his mission and erecting the skyscraper despite enormous obstacles. The film would have ended with Kane’s throwing back his head in victory, standing atop the completed skyscraper. DeMille rejected Rand’s script, and the actual film followed Murphy’s original idea, but Rand’s version contained elements she would later use in The Fountainhead.[1]

David Harriman, who edited the posthumous Journals of Ayn Rand, found some elements of The Fountainhead in the notes for an earlier novel that Rand worked on but never completed. Its protagonist is shown as goaded beyond endurance by a pastor, finally killing him and getting executed. The pastorconsidered a paragon of virtue by society but actually a monsteris similar to Ellsworth Toohey, and the pastor’s assassination is reminiscent of Steven Mallory’s attempt to kill Toohey.[2]

Rand began The Fountainhead (originally titled Second-Hand Lives) following the completion in 1934 of her first novel, We the Living. While that earlier novel had been based partly on people and events from Rand’s experiences, the new novel was to focus on the less-familiar world of architecture. Therefore, she did extensive research to develop plot and character ideas. This included reading numerous biographies and books about architecture,[3] and working as an unpaid typist in the office of architect Ely Jacques Kahn.[4]

Rand wanted to write a novel that was less overtly political than We the Living, to avoid being “considered a ‘one-theme’ author”.[5] As she developed the story, she began to see more political meaning in the novel’s ideas about individualism.[6] Rand also initially planned to introduce each of the four sections with a quote from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, whose ideas had influenced her own intellectual development. However, she eventually decided that Nietzsche’s ideas were too different from her own. She did not place the quotes in the published novel, and she edited the final manuscript to remove other allusions to him.[7]

Rand’s work on The Fountainhead was repeatedly interrupted. In 1937, she took a break from it to write a novella called Anthem. She also completed a stage adaptation of We the Living that ran briefly in early 1940.[8] That same year, she became actively involved in politics, first working as a volunteer in Wendell Willkie’s presidential campaign, then attempting to form a group for conservative intellectuals.[9] As her royalties from earlier projects ran out, she began doing freelance work as a script reader for movie studios. When Rand finally found a publisher, the novel was only one-third complete.[10]

Although she was a previously published novelist and had a successful Broadway play, Rand had difficulty finding a publisher for The Fountainhead. Macmillan Publishing, which had published We the Living, rejected the book after Rand insisted that they must provide more publicity for her new novel than they did for the first one.[11] Rand’s agent began submitting the book to other publishers. In 1938, Knopf signed a contract to publish the book, but when Rand was only a quarter done with manuscript by October 1940, Knopf canceled her contract.[12] Several other publishers rejected the book, and Rand’s agent began to criticize the novel. Rand fired her agent and decided to handle submissions herself.[13]

While Rand was working as a script reader for Paramount Pictures, her boss there, Richard Mealand, offered to introduce her to his publishing contacts. He put her in touch with the Bobbs-Merrill Company. A recently hired editor, Archibald Ogden, liked the book, but two internal reviewers gave conflicting opinions about it. One said it was a great book that would never sell; the other said it was trash but would sell well. Ogden’s boss, Bobbs-Merrill president D.L. Chambers, decided to reject the book. Ogden responded by wiring to the head office, “If this is not the book for you, then I am not the editor for you.” His strong stand got a contract for Rand in December 1941. Twelve other publishers had rejected the book.[14]

Rand’s working title for the book was Second Hand Lives, but Ogden pointed out that this emphasized the story’s villains. Rand offered The Mainspring as an alternative, but this title had been recently used for another book, so she used a thesaurus and found ‘fountainhead’ as a synonym.[15]

The Fountainhead was published in May 1943. Initial sales were slow, but as Mimi Reisel Gladstein described it, sales “grew by word-of-mouth, developing a popularity that asserted itself slowly on the best-seller lists.”[16] It reached number six on The New York Times bestseller list in August 1945, over two years after its initial publication.[17]

A 25th anniversary edition was issued by New American Library in 1971, including a new introduction by Rand. In 1993, a 50th anniversary edition from Bobbs-Merrill added an afterword by Rand’s heir, Leonard Peikoff. By 2008 the novel had sold over 6.5million copies in English, and it had been translated into several languages.[18]

As the protagonist of the book, Roark is an aspiring architect who firmly believes that a person must be a “prime mover” to achieve pure art, not mitigated by others, as opposed to councils or committees of individuals which lead to compromise and mediocrity and a “watering down” of a prime mover’s completed vision. He represents the triumph of individualism over the slow stagnation of collectivism. He is eventually arrested for dynamiting a building he designed, the design of which was compromised by other architects brought in to negate his vision of the project. During his trial, Roark delivers a speech condemning “second-handers” and declaring the superiority of prime movers; he prevails and is vindicated by the jury.

The character of Roark was at least partly inspired by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Rand described the inspiration as limited to “some of his architectural ideas [and] the pattern of his career”.[19] She denied that Wright had anything to do with the philosophy expressed by Roark or the events of the plot.[20][21] Rand’s denials have not stopped other commentators from claiming stronger connections between Wright and Roark.[21][22] Wright himself equivocated about whether he thought Roark was based on him, sometimes implying that he was, at other times denying it.[23] Wright biographer Ada Louise Huxtable described the “yawning gap” between Wright’s philosophy and Rand’s, and quoted him declaring, “I deny the paternity and refuse to marry the mother.”[24]

Peter Keating is also an aspiring architect, but is everything that Roark is not. His original inclination was to become an artist, but his opportunistic mother pushes him toward architecture where he might have greater material success. Even by Roark’s own admission, Keating does possess some creative and intellectual abilities, but is stifled by his sycophantic pursuit of wealth over morals. His willingness to build what others wish leads him to temporary success. He attends architecture school with Roark, who helps him with some of his less inspired projects. He is subservient to the wills of others: Dominique Francon’s father, the architectural establishment, his mother, even Roark himself. Keating is “a man who never could be, but doesn’t know it”. The one sincere thing in Keating’s life is his love for Catherine Halsey, Ellsworth Toohey’s niece. Though she offers to introduce Keating to Toohey, he initially refuses despite the fact that such an introduction would help his career. It is the only exception to his otherwise relentless and ruthless ambition, which includes bullying and threatening to blackmail a sick old man and unintentionally causing his death. Although Keating does have a conscience, and often does genuinely feel bad after doing certain things he knows are immoral, he only feels this way in hindsight, and doesn’t allow his morals to influence current decision making. Keating’s offer to elope with Catherine is his one chance to act on what he believes is his own desire. But, Dominique arrives at that precise moment and offers to marry him for her own reasons, and his acceptance of the offer and betrayal of Catherine ends the potential of romance between them. His acceptance of Dominique’s offer of marriage, which would help his career far more than a marriage with Catherine, is a quintessential example of his failure to stand up for his own convictions.

Dominique Francon is the heroine of The Fountainhead, described by Rand as “the woman for a man like Howard Roark.”[25] For most of the novel, the character operates from what Rand later described as “a very mistaken idea about life.”[26] Dominique is the daughter of Guy Francon, a highly successful but creatively inhibited architect. She is a thorn in the flesh of her father and causes him much distress for her works criticizing the architectural profession’s mediocrity. Peter Keating is employed by her father, and her intelligence, insight and observations are above his. It is only through Roark that her love of adversity and autonomy meets a worthy equal. These strengths are also what she initially lets stifle her growth and make her life miserable. She begins thinking that the world did not deserve her sincerity and intellect, because the people around her did not measure up to her standards. She starts out punishing the world and herself for all the things about man which she despises, through self-defeating behavior. She initially believes that greatness, such as Roark’s, is doomed to fail and will be destroyed by the ‘collectivist’ masses around them. She eventually joins Roark romantically, but before she can do this, she must learn to join him in his perspective and purpose.

The character has provoked varied reactions from commentators. Chris Matthew Sciabarra called her “one of the more bizarre characters in the novel.”[27]Mimi Reisel Gladstein called her “an interesting case study in perverseness”[28] Tore Boeckmann described her as a character with “mixed premises”, some of which were mistaken, and saw her actions as a logical representation of how her conflicting ideas might play out.[29]

Gail Wynand is a wealthy newspaper mogul who rose from a destitute childhood in the ghettoes of New York City to control much of the city’s print media. While Wynand shares many of the character qualities of Roark, his success is dependent upon his ability to pander to public opinion, a flaw which eventually leads to his downfall. In her journals Rand described Wynand as “the man who could have been” a heroic individualist, contrasting him to Roark, “the man who can be and is”.[30] Some elements of Wynand’s character were inspired by real-life newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst,[31] including Hearst’s mixed success in attempts to gain political influence.[32] Wynand is a tragic figure who ultimately fails in his attempts to wield power, losing his newspaper, his wife, and his friendship with Roark.[33] The character has been interpreted as a representation of Nietzsche’s “master morality”,[34] and his tragic nature illustrates Rand’s rejection of Nietzsche’s philosophy.[35] In Rand’s view, a person like Wynand, who seeks power over others, is just as much a “second-hander” as a conformist like Keating.[36]

Ellsworth Monkton Toohey, who writes a popular art criticism column, is Roark’s antagonist. Toohey is Rand’s personification of evil, the most active and self-aware villain in any of her novels.[37] Toohey is a socialist, and represents the spirit of collectivism more generally. He styles himself as representative of the will of the masses, but his actual desire is for power over others.[38] He controls individual victims by destroying their sense of self-worth, and seeks broader power (over “the world”, as he declares to Keating in a moment of candor) by promoting the ideals of ethical altruism and a rigorous egalitarianism that treats all people and achievements as equally valuable, regardless of their true value.[39] As one reviewer described his approach:

Aiming at a society that shall be “an average drawn upon zeroes,” he knows exactly why he corrupts Peter Keating, and explains his methods to the ruined young man in a passage that is a pyrotechnical display of the fascist mind at its best and its worst; the use of the ideal of altruism to destroy personal integrity, the use of humor and tolerance to destroy all standards, the use of sacrifice to enslave.[40]

His biggest threat is the strength of the individual spirit embodied by Roark.[41]

Rand used her memory of the British democratic socialist Harold Laski to help her imagine what Toohey would do in a given situation. New York intellectuals Lewis Mumford and Clifton Fadiman also contributed inspirations for the character.[42]

Rand indicated that the primary theme of The Fountainhead was “individualism versus collectivism, not in politics but within a man’s soul.”[43] Apart from scenes such as Roark’s courtroom defense of the American concept of individual rights, she avoided direct discussion of political issues. As historian James Baker described it, “The Fountainhead hardly mentions politics or economics, despite the fact that it was born in the 1930s. Nor does it deal with world affairs, although it was written during World War II. It is about one man against the system, and it does not permit other matters to intrude.”[44]

Rand dedicated The Fountainhead to her husband, Frank O’Connor, and to architecture. She chose architecture for the analogy it offered to her ideas, especially in the context of the ascent of modern architecture. It provided an appropriate vehicle to solidify her beliefs that the individual is of supreme value, the “fountainhead” of creativity, and that selfishness, properly understood as ethical egoism, is a virtue.

Peter Keating and Howard Roark are character foils. Keating practices in the historical eclectic and neo-classic mold, even when the building’s typology is a skyscraper. He follows and pays respect to old traditions. He accommodates the changes suggested by others, mirroring the eclectic directions, and willingness to adapt, current at the turn of the twentieth century. Roark searches for truth and honesty and expresses them in his work. He is uncompromising when changes are suggested, mirroring modern architecture’s trajectory from dissatisfaction with earlier design trends to emphasizing individual creativity. Roark’s individuality eulogizes modern architects as uncompromising and heroic.

The Fountainhead has been cited by numerous architects as an inspiration for their work. Architect Fred Stitt, founder of the San Francisco Institute of Architecture, dedicated a book to his “first architectural mentor, Howard Roark”.[45] Nader Vossoughian has written that “The Fountainhead… has shaped the public’s perception of the architectural profession more than perhaps any other text over this last half-century.”[46] According to renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman, it was Rand’s work that “brought architecture into the public’s focus for the first time,” and he believes that The Fountainhead was not only influential among 20th century architects, it “was one, first, front and center in the life of every architect who was a modern architect.”[47]

The Fountainhead polarized critics and received mixed reviews upon its release.[48]The New York Times’ review of the novel named Rand “a writer of great power” who writes “brilliantly, beautifully and bitterly,” and it stated that she had “written a hymn in praise of the individual… you will not be able to read this masterful book without thinking through some of the basic concepts of our time.”[40] Benjamin DeCasseres, a columnist for the New York Journal-American, wrote of Roark as “an uncompromising individualist” and “one of the most inspiring characters in modern American literature.” Rand sent DeCasseres a letter thanking him for explaining the book’s individualistic themes when many other reviewers did not.[49] There were other positive reviews, but Rand dismissed many of them as either not understanding her message or as being from unimportant publications.[48] A number of negative reviews focused on the length of the novel,[50] such as one that called it “a whale of a book” and another that said “anyone who is taken in by it deserves a stern lecture on paper-rationing.” Other negative reviews called the characters unsympathetic and Rand’s style “offensively pedestrian.”[48]

The year 1943 also saw the publication of The God of the Machine by Isabel Paterson and The Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane. Rand, Lane and Paterson have been referred to as the founding mothers of the American libertarian movement with the publication of these works.[51] Journalist John Chamberlain, for example, credits these works with his final “conversion” from socialism to what he called “an older American philosophy” of libertarian and conservative ideas.[52]

One of the most controversial elements of the book is the rape scene between Roark and Dominique.[53]Feminist critics have attacked the scene as representative of an anti-feminist viewpoint in Rand’s works that makes women subservient to men.[54]Susan Brownmiller, in her 1975 work Against Our Will, denounced what she called “Rand’s philosophy of rape”, for portraying women as wanting “humiliation at the hands of a superior man”. She called Rand “a traitor to her own sex”.[55] Susan Love Brown said the scene presents Rand’s view of sex as “an act of sadomasochism and of feminine subordination and passivity”.[56]Barbara Grizzuti Harrison suggested women who enjoy such “masochistic fantasies” are “damaged” and have low self-esteem.[57] While Rand scholar Mimi Reisel Gladstein found elements to admire in Rand’s female protagonists, she said that readers who have “a raised consciousness about the nature of rape” would disapprove of Rand’s “romanticized rapes”.[58]

Rand denied that what happened in the scene was actually rape, referring to it as “rape by engraved invitation”[53] because Dominique wanted and “all but invited” the act, citing among other things the conversation after Dominique scratches the marble slab in her bedroom in order to invite Roark to repair it.[59] A true rape, Rand said, would be “a dreadful crime”.[60] Defenders of the novel have agreed with this interpretation. In an essay specifically explaining this scene, Andrew Bernstein wrote that although there is much “confusion” about it, the descriptions in the novel provide “conclusive” evidence that “Dominique feels an overwhelming attraction to Roark” and “desires desperately to sleep with” him.[61]Individualist feminist Wendy McElroy said that while Dominique is “thoroughly taken,” there is nonetheless “clear indication that Dominique not only consented,” but also enjoyed the experience.[62] Both Bernstein and McElroy saw the interpretations of feminists such as Brownmiller as being based in a false understanding of sexuality.[63]

Rand’s posthumously published working notes for the novel, which were not known at the time of her debate with feminists, indicate that when she started working on the book in 1936 she conceived of Roark’s character that “were it necessary, he could rape her and feel justified.”[64]

The Fountainhead has continued to have strong sales throughout the last century into the current one, and has been referenced in a variety of popular entertainment, including movies, television series and other novels.[66] Despite its popularity, it has received relatively little ongoing critical attention.[67][68] Assessing the novel’s legacy, philosopher Douglas Den Uyl described The Fountainhead as relatively neglected compared to her later novel, Atlas Shrugged, and said, “our problem is to find those topics that arise clearly with The Fountainhead and yet do not force us to read it simply through the eyes of Atlas Shrugged.”[67]

Among critics who have addressed it, some consider The Fountainhead to be Rand’s best novel,[69][70][71] such as philosopher Mark Kingwell, who described The Fountainhead as “Rand’s best workwhich is not to say it is good.”[72] A Village Voice columnist has called it “blatantly tendentious” and described it as containing “heavy-breathing hero worship.”[73] Fountainhead has also received some positive reviews such as one from Bill Wasik who said Ayn Rand “…has an uncanny ability to weave words into a beautiful mosaic; her characters come alive on the pages and dance before the readers eyes. One character in particular, Howard Roark, is what all men should seek to become.”[74]

The book has a particular appeal to young people, an appeal that led historian James Baker to describe it as “more important than its detractors think, although not as important as Rand fans imagine.”[70]Allan Bloom has referred to the novel as being “hardly literature,” one having a “sub-Nietzschean assertiveness [that] excites somewhat eccentric youngsters to a new way of life.” However, he also writes that when he asks his students which books matter to them, there is always someone influenced by The Fountainhead.[75] Journalist Nora Ephron wrote that she had loved the novel when she was 18 but admitted that she “missed the point,” which she suggested is largely subliminal sexual metaphor. Ephron wrote that she decided upon re-reading that “it is better read when one is young enough to miss the point. Otherwise, one cannot help thinking it is a very silly book.”[76] Architect David Rockwell said that the film adaptation influenced his interest in architecture and design, and that many architecture students at his university named their dogs Roark as a tribute to the protagonist of the novel and film.[77]

In 1945, Rand was approached by King Features Syndicate about having a condensed, illustrated version of the novel published for syndication in newspapers. Rand agreed, provided that she could oversee the editing and approve the proposed illustrations of her characters, which were provided by Frank Godwin. The 30-part series began on December 24, 1945, and ran in over 35 newspapers.[78]

In 1949, Warner Brothers released a film based on the book, starring Gary Cooper as Howard Roark, Patricia Neal as Dominique Francon, Raymond Massey as Gail Wynand, and Kent Smith as Peter Keating. The film was directed by King Vidor. The Fountainhead grossed $2.1million, $400,000 less than its production budget.[79] However, sales of the novel increased as a result of interest spurred by the film.[80] In letters written at the time, the author’s reaction to the film was positive, saying “The picture is more faithful to the novel than any other adaptation of a novel that Hollywood has ever produced”[81] and “It was a real triumph.”[82] However, she displayed a more negative attitude towards it later, saying that she “disliked the movie from beginning to end”, and complaining about its editing, acting and other elements.[83] As a result of this film, Rand said that she would never sell any of her novels to a film company that did not allow her the right to pick the director and screenwriter as well as edit the film, as she did not want to encounter the same production problems that occurred on this film.[84]

A 2016 industry article reported that director Zack Snyder is looking to adapt Fountainhead for the big screen, possibly based on Rand’s original script for Warner Brothers.[85]

In June 2014, an adaptation for the stage (in Dutch) was presented at the Holland Festival, directed by Ivo van Hove, with Ramsey Nasr as Howard Roark.[86] The production subsequently went on tour, appearing in Barcelona in early July 2014,[87] and then at the Festival d’Avignon later that month.[88]

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Ayn Rand | American author |

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Alternative title: Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum

Ayn Rand, original name Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum (born February 2, 1905, St. Petersburg, Russiadied March 6, 1982, New York, New York, U.S.) Russian-born American writer whose commercially successful novels promoting individualism and laissez-faire capitalism were influential among conservatives and libertarians and popular among generations of young people in the United States from the mid-20th century.

Her father, Zinovy Rosenbaum, was a prosperous pharmacist. After being tutored at home, Alissa Rosenbaum, the eldest of three children, was enrolled in a progressive school, where she excelled academically but was socially isolated. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, her fathers shop was confiscated by communist authorities, an event she deeply resented. As a student at Leningrad State University, she studied history and became acquainted with the works of Plato and Aristotle. After graduating in 1924, she enrolled in the State Institute for Cinematography, hoping to become a screenwriter.

The arrival of a letter from cousins in Chicago gave her an opportunity to leave the country on the pretext of gaining expertise that she could apply in the Soviet film industry. Upon her arrival in the United States in 1926, she changed her name to Ayn Rand. (The first name, which rhymes with pine, was inspired by the name of a Finnish writer, whom she never identified, and the surname she described as an abbreviation of Rosenbaum.) After six months in Chicago she moved to Hollywood, where a fortuitous encounter with the producer Cecil B. DeMille led to work as a movie extra and eventually to a job as a screenwriter. In 1929 she married the actor Frank OConnor. Soon hired as a filing clerk in the wardrobe department of RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she rose to head of the department within a year, meanwhile writing stories, plays, and film scenarios in her spare time. She became an American citizen in 1931.

Rands first successful play, Night of January 16th (1933; originally titled Penthouse Legend), was a paean to individualism in the form of a courtroom drama. In 1934 she and OConnor moved to New York City so that she could oversee the plays production on Broadway. That year she also wrote Ideal, about a self-centred film star on the run from the law, first as a novel and then as a play. However, she shelved both versions. The play was not produced until 1989, and the novel was not published until 2015. Her first published novel, We the Living (1936), was a romantic tragedy in which Soviet totalitarianism epitomized the inherent evils of collectivism, which she understood as the subordination of individual interests to those of the state. A subsequent novella, Anthem (1938), portrayed a future collectivist dystopia in which the concept of the self and even the word I have been lost.

Rand spent more than seven years working on her first major work, The Fountainhead (1943), the story of a handsome architectural genius whose individualism and integrity are evinced in his principled dedication to his own happiness. The hero, Howard Roark, blows up a public housing project he had designed after it is altered against his wishes by government bureaucrats. On trial for his crime, he delivers a lengthy speech in his own defense in which he argues for individualism over collectivism and egoism over altruism (the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self). The jury votes unanimously to acquit him. Despite generally bad reviews, the book attracted readers through word of mouth and eventually became a best seller. Rand sold it to Warner Brothers studio and wrote the screenplay for the film, which was released in 1949.

Having returned to Los Angeles with OConnor to work on the script for The Fountainhead, Rand signed a contract to work six months a year as a screenwriter for the independent producer Hal Wallis. In 1945 she began sketches for her next novel, Atlas Shrugged (1957; film part 1, 2011, part 2, 2012, part 3, 2014), which is generally considered her masterpiece. The book depicts a future United States on the verge of economic collapse after years of collectivist misrule, under which productive and creative citizens (primarily industrialists, scientists, and artists) have been exploited to benefit an undeserving population of moochers and incompetents. The hero, John Galt, a handsome and supremely self-interested physicist and inventor, leads a band of elite producers and creators in a strike designed to deprive the economy of their leadership and thereby force the government to respect their economic freedom. From their redoubt in Colorado, Galts Gulch, they watch as the national economy and the collectivist social system are destroyed. As the elite emerge from the Gulch in the novels final scene, Galt raises his hand over the desolate earth andtrace[s] in space the sign of the dollar.

Atlas Shrugged was notable for making explicit the philosophical assumptions that underlay The Fountainhead, which Rand described as only an overture to the later work. In an appendix to Atlas Shrugged, Rand described her systematic philosophy, which she called objectivism, as in essencethe concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

Although the book was attacked by critics from across the political spectrum for its perceived immorality and misanthropy and its overt hostility to religion (Rand was an atheist), it was an instant best seller. It was especially well received by business leaders, many of whom were impressed by its moral justification of capitalism and delighted to think of their occupations as noble and virtuous. Like The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged also appealed widely to young people through its extreme romanticism, its accessible and comprehensive philosophy, its rejection of traditional authority and convention, and its implicit invitation to the reader to join the ranks of the elite by modeling himself on the storys hero.

In 1950 Rand agreed to meet a young admirer, Nathan Blumenthal, on the basis of his several articulate fan letters. The two established an immediate rapport, and Blumenthal and his girlfriend, Barbara Weidman, became Rands friends as well as her intellectual followers. In 1951 the couple moved to New York, and Rand and OConnor soon followed. There the Brandens, as Nathan and Barbara called themselves after their marriage in 1953, introduced Rand to their friends and relatives, some of whom later attended regular meetings at Rands apartment for discussion and to read newly written chapters of Atlas Shrugged. The group, which called itself the Class of 43 (a reference to the publication date of The Fountainhead) or (ironically) the Collective, included Alan Greenspan, an economics consultant who would later head the presidents Council of Economic Advisers (197477) and serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve (19872006). Among members of the Collective Nathan Branden was unquestionably Rands favourite. She openly acknowledged him as her intellectual heir and formally designated him as such in the afterword of Atlas Shrugged, which she co-dedicated to him and to OConnor.

In the late 1950s, with Rands permission, Branden established a business designed to teach the basic principles of objectivism to sympathetic readers of Rands novels. The Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), as it was later called, offered courses in objectivism in New York and distributed tape-recorded lectures by Branden to objectivist centers in various other cities. Despite its outward appearance as an educational institution, NBI did not permit its students to think critically about objectivism or to develop objectivist ideas in novel ways. Through the success of NBI, Branden would eventually become the public guardian of objectivist orthodoxy against innovation or unauthorized borrowing by objectivist sympathizers, especially among the growing student right. In 1962 Branden and Rand launched the monthly Objectivist Newsletter (renamed The Objectivist in 1966). Meanwhile, Rands fame grew apace with the brisk sales of her novels. She was invited to speak at numerous colleges and universities and was interviewed on television talk shows and on the news program 60 Minutes. Growing into her role as a public intellectual, she published her first work of nonfiction, For the New Intellectual, largely a collection of philosophical passages from her fiction, in 1961. The Virtue of Selfishness (1964) and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966) were drawn mostly from lectures and newsletter articles.

In 1968 Rand learned that Branden, with whom she had been having an intermittent affair (with their spouses knowledge) since 1954, was involved in a romantic relationship with a younger woman. Accusing him of betraying objectivist principles, she stripped him of his partnership in The Objectivist and demanded that he surrender control of NBI, which was soon dissolved. The closing of the institute freed various self-described objectivists to publicly develop their own interpretations of Rands philosophyall of which, however, she rejected as perversions or plagiarism of her ideas. She was especially incensed at the use of objectivist vocabulary by young libertarians, whom she accused of disregarding morality and flirting with anarchism. Meanwhile, Brandens status as Rands favourite disciple was assumed by Leonard Peikoff, an original member of the Collective whom she would eventually designate as her intellectual and legal heir.

In 1971 Rand ceased publication of The Objectivist and replaced it with the fortnightly Ayn Rand Letter, which appeared with increasing irregularity until 1976. In 1974 she underwent surgery for lung cancer. Although she recovered, she never again had the energy to pursue large-scale writing projects. In 1979 she published Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, a collection of philosophical articles originally written in 1967. She was working on an adaptation of Atlas Shrugged for a television miniserieseventually unrealizedwhen she died.

Rand was continually frustrated by her failure to gain acceptance among academic philosophers, most of whom dismissed (or were simply unaware of) her work. This neglect, which she attributed to collectivist bias and incompetence, was partly due to the fictional form in which the best-known statements of her philosophy appeared, which necessarily rendered them imprecise by professional standards. Other factors were her idiosyncratic interpretation of the history of Western philosophy, her tendency to rely, even in her nonfiction works, on broad ad hominem attacks, and her general unwillingness to tolerate disagreement with her views among those with whom she associated.

In 1986 Barbara Branden published a memoir, The Passion of Ayn Rand, that disclosed Rands affair with Nathan and revealed unflattering details of her relations with members of the Collective and others. Despite the resulting damage to her reputation, her novels continued to enjoy large sales, and she retained a loyal following among conservatives and libertarians, including some high-ranking members of the Ronald Reagan administration (the most notable being Greenspan). In the 1990s and 2000s her works undoubtedly contributed to the increased popularity of libertarianism in the United States, and from 2009 she was an iconic figure in the antigovernment Tea Party movement. It is for these specifically political influences, rather than for her contributions to literature or philosophy, that she is likely to be remembered by future generations.

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Ayn Rand Institute eStore : Ayn Rand

Posted: July 5, 2016 at 7:20 am

The first volume to offer a comprehensive scholarly treatment of Rands entire corpus (including her novels, her philosophical essays, and her analysis of the events of her times), this Companion provides vital orientation and context for scholars and educated readers grappling with a controversial and understudied thinker whose enduring influence on American (and…See More

The Atlas Shrugged app contains the novel and a selection of manuscript pages; notes from Ayn Rands journals; video and audio excerpts from her talks; information about her life and major works; and a photo gallery. Readers can share quotes from the novel in social media and take a quiz to test their knowledge of the book.

As part of their celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Playboy Interview, the editors of Playboy have republished their interview with Ayn Rand, from the March 1964 issue. (Kindle Edition)

Ayn Rand was an American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system known as Objectivism.

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Ayn Rand Quotes – The Quotations Page

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Read books online at our other site: The Literature Page Showing quotations 1 to 15 of 15 total – We have 3 book reviews related to Ayn Rand. Guilt is a rope that wears thin. Ayn Rand Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values. Ayn Rand Learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness. Ayn Rand Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday…The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production. Ayn Rand The upper classes are… a nation’s past; the middle class is its future. Ayn Rand I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Ayn Rand, Anthem, 1946 I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of mans values, it has to be earned. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call ‘free will’ is your mind’s freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to become the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips and guns–or dollars. Take your choice–there is no other. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged It is not advisable, James, to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957 The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957 The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles. Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1966 The Argument from Intimidation is a confession of intellectual impotence. Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness, 1964

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Ayn Rand (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Posted: June 24, 2016 at 7:34 am

1. Introduction 1.1 Ayn Rand and Philosophy

In Rands own words, her first and greatest love, her life purpose, was the creation of the kind of world that represents human perfection, while her interest in philosophical knowledge was only for the sake of this purpose (Journal entry for 4 May 1946; in 1997: 479).[1] Nevertheless, her interest in philosophical knowledge continued long after she had created this world in her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, her last work of fiction. In her non-fiction, Rand developed a conception of metaphysical realism, rationality, ethical egoism (rational self-interest), individual rights, laissez-faire capitalism, and art, and applied her philosophy to social issues. She wrote polemical, philosophical essays, often in response to questions by fans of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead; lectured on college campuses; and gave radio and television interviews. In her own words, her philosophy,

in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. (Rand 1957 [1992]: Afterword)

Capitalism, the unknown ideal, is for her the only political-economic system compatible with this philosophy because it is the only system based on respect for human beings as ends in themselves. The free-market libertarian political movement, though largely disowned by Rand, drewand drawsgreat inspiration from her moral defense of the minimal state, that is, the state whose only raison dtre is protection of individual rights.

Whereas Rands ideas and mode of presentation make Rand popular with many non-academics, they lead to the opposite outcome with academics. She developed some of her views in response to questions from her readers, but never took the time to defend them against possible objections or to reconcile them with the views expressed in her novels. Her philosophical essays lack the self-critical, detailed style of analytic philosophy, or any serious attempt to consider possible objections to her views. Her polemical style, often contemptuous tone, and the dogmatism and cult-like behavior of many of her fans also suggest that her work is not worth taking seriously.[2] Further, understanding her views requires reading her fiction, but her fiction is not to everyones taste. It does not help that she often dismisses other philosophers views on the basis of cursory readings and conversations with a few philosophers and with her young philosophy student acolytes. Some contemporary philosophers return the compliment by dismissing her work contemptuously on the basis of hearsay. Some who do read her work point out that her arguments too often do not support her conclusions. This estimate is shared even by many who find her conclusions and her criticisms of contemporary culture, morality, and politics original and insightful. It is not surprising, then, that she is either mentioned in passing, or not mentioned at all, in the entries that discuss current philosophical thought about virtue ethics, egoism, rights, libertarianism, or markets. (Readers may also find the entry on Nozicks political philosophy to be of interest.) We present specific criticisms of her arguments and claims below, in the relevant sections of this entry.

Ayn Rand was born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, to a bourgeois Jewish family in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 2 February 1905. A witness to the Russian Revolution and civil war, Rand opposed both the Communists and the Tsarists. She majored in history, but the social science program in which she was enrolled at Petrograd State University included philosophy, law, and philology. Her teachers emphasizedas she herself later didthe importance of developing systematic connections among different areas of thought (Sciabarra 1995). Rands formal philosophical education included ancient philosophy (especially Plato and Aristotle), logic, philosophical psychology, Marxism-Leninism, and non-Marxist political thought. But she was evidently also exposed to Hegelian and Nietzschean ideas, which blossomed during this period (known as the Russian Silver Age), and read a great deal of Friedrich Nietzsche on her own. After graduating from Petrograd State University in 1924, an interest in screenwriting led her to enroll in the State Institute for Cinematography. On the literary side, she studied the great Russian novelists and poets, but fell in love with Victor Hugo, to whose influence she owes the Romantic Realism of her novels.

In 1925 Rand succeeded in obtaining permission to visit relatives in the United States; hating the Soviet system, she left with no intention of returning. After six months with relatives in Chicago, she made her way to Hollywood where, on her second day, a fortuitous encounter with Cecil B. DeMille led to a job as a script reader, and later as a screenplay writer. The next week she had another fortuitous encounter, this time with the actor Frank OConnor, whom she married in 1929. She was married to him till his death in 1979. She adopted the pen name Ayn Rand to (it is thought) protect her family back in Russia, although she also told the New York Evening Post in 1936 that Rand was an abbreviation of her Russian surname.

Rand and her husband moved permanently to New York City in 1951, where she became involved with, and was influenced by, the circle of mostly New-York-based intellectuals involved in the revival of classical liberalism, such as the economic journalist Henry Hazlitt, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, and the Canadian-American novelist, literary critic, and political philosopher Isabel Paterson. Rand also studied, and was a great admirer of, the Lockean philosophy of the American founding. Rand lived and worked in New York City until her death in 1982.

Rand holds that philosophy, like all forms of knowledge and achievement, is important only because it is necessary for living a good human life and creating a world conducive to living such a life. Philosophy supplies the most fundamental cognitive and normative abstractions which, respectively, identify and evaluate what is. Everyone, according to Rand, needs a philosophy and is guided by at least an implicit one (1982a: ch. 1). Her novels express her belief that if our philosophy is more or less correct, our lives will be more or less successful, if our philosophy is wildly off the mark, our lives will be disastrous. Philosophy thus has an urgent, practical importance. But unlike Marx, her philosophical and political antipode, Rand thinks that social change has to start with a moral revolution within each individual and the spread of the right ideas and ideals through rational discourse and the inspiration of art.

Rands ideal human being appears, in varying degrees of development, in all her novels; her ideal world appears in Atlas Shrugged. Her novels feature striking, complex plots with subtle psychological explorations of her characters emotions and thoughts, and philosophical reflections that rarely lose sight of the dramatic context. Like many famous Russian novelists, especially Dostoevsky, whom she recognized as a great psychologist, Rand also uses long speeches to lay out her philosophy, a device that has both its supporters and its detractors. She described Atlas Shrugged as a stunt novel and a murder mysterythe murder of the human soul by a collectivist culture. By soul, however, she meant not an immortal substance that survives the death of the bodyshe is not a dualist in any aspect of her philosophybut the mind, or the human spirit that celebrates life on thi
s earth. She took a familiar phenomenon and literary tropea workers strikeand turned it on its head to show what happens when the men of mindscientists, philosophers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, writersthe prime movers of a societygo on strike. It also purports to show how the wrong metaphysics can lead to the wrong ethics and thus to disastrous personal choices and a disastrous political and economic system, and how the right philosophy is needed for the rebirth of the soul and the rebuilding of the world. Her protagonists are not knights on white steeds rescuing damsels in distress, or swordsmen who can fight off a dozen enemies single-handed, but men and women in the mid-20th century industrial America of steel mills, skyscrapers, and glimmering highways: women who run transcontinental railroads and men who revolutionize architecture or (long before clean energy became a cause clbre) build a motor powered by static electricity to produce limitless, clean energy. Her novels show the importance of striving to be the best we can be:

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible. (Atlas Shrugged, 1957 [1992]: 983).

Her novels inspire readers because they present heroes of unbreached integrity, heroes who lead colorful and remarkable lives and succeed not in spite of, but because of, their uncompromising virtue. This estimate of their virtue is not, of course, shared by all: many readers find her characters wooden, her writing stilted, and her ethical and political views misguided.

Rand paid tribute to Aristotle, whom she considered the greatest of all philosophers, in the titles she gave to the three Parts of Atlas Shrugged (Non-Contradiction, Either-Or, A is A) and to one of the chapters (The Immovable Movers). While she differed sharply from Nietzsche on many issues, including rationality, free will, and individual rights, his influence is evident in her provocative, often aphoristic, point-counterpoint writing style, as well as in her transvaluation of traditional values and her powerful affirmation of life and joy and the spirit of youth. In the Introduction to the 25th Anniversary edition of The Fountainhead, she stated that the novels sense of life is best conveyed by a quotation from Nietzsches Beyond Good and Evil: The noble soul has reverence for itself. (For The Fountainheads partly sympathetic and partly critical engagement with Nietzsches ideas, see Hunt 2006.)

Fundamental to Rands outlookso fundamental that she derives the name of her philosophical system, Objectivism, from itis a trichotomy among three categories: the intrinsic, the subjective, and the objective (ITOE: 5254; Rand 1965: 1323). An intrinsic phenomenon is one whose nature depends wholly on factors external to the mind; a subjective phenomenon is one whose nature depends wholly on the mind; and an objective phenomenon is defined, variously, as that which depends on the relation between a living entitys nature (including the nature of its mind) and its environment, or as that which depends on the relation between a properly functioning (rational) mind and extramental reality. Commentators are divided over the best way to interpret Rands views on this issue.

Rand holds that there is a widespread tendency to ignore the third category or to assimilate it to the second, thus setting up a false dichotomy between the intrinsic and the subjective. On Rands view, many of the fundamental questions of philosophy, from the existence of universals to the nature of value, involve fruitless debates over the false alternative intrinsic or subjective? in cases where the phenomenon in question is neither intrinsic nor subjective, but rather objective.

If ethics is the branch of philosophy concerned with practice, then in a sense all of Rands philosophy is ethics, for Rand stresses the supremacy of actual living over all other considerations, and insists that philosophy needs to be brought up to the realm of actual livingadding I say intentionally brought up to it, not down (Journal entry for 15 May 1934, p. 72; in Rand 1997: 73). Consequently, Rand regularly concerns herself with the practical implications and social relevance not only of moral and political philosophy, but likewise of the seemingly more arcane strata of metaphysics and epistemologyas when she identifies errors in concept-formation as one of the roots of racism, or mind-body dualism as a root of the dichotomy between economic and personal freedom. This approach likewise reflects Rands emphasis on integrating each piece of information into the total context of ones knowledge, and her consequent hostility to compartmentalization.

Rands conviction of the vital practical importance of abstract theory may help to explain the passionately polemical nature of her philosophical writing, which some readers find inspiring and others hyperbolic and off-puttingthough Rands admiration for Nietzsche, as well as her having been educated in a Marxist-Leninist atmosphere, may also play a role. Rand also tendedperhaps owing in part to the same two influencesto regard philosophical errors as revelatory of the psychological flaws of their authors.

For a more in-depth presentation of Rands views on epistemology and metaphysics, please see the supplement on Epistemology and Metaphysics


is a code of values to guide mans choices and actionsthe choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life. (1961b: 13)

Before we can decide which code of values we should accept, we need to ask why we need a code of values at all. Rand claims that no philosopher before her has provided a scientific answer to this question, and so none has provided a satisfactory ethics.

Rand starts by describing value or the good, in classical fashion, as the object of pursuit: that which one acts to gain and/or keep (1961b: 16). Thus, the concept of value presupposes the concept of an entity capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternativeand the basic alternative facing any living entity is life or death (1961b: 16). It is the conditional nature of life that gives rise to values, not just human values, but values as such. As she puts it:

Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. (1961b: 18)

Survival is the organisms ultimate value, the final goal or end to which all [its] lesser goals are the means, and the standard of all its other values: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil (pp. 1617). The same, suitably modified, applies to human beings. Life is the standard and goal of all genuine human values, in the sense that all of themfrom food to philosophy to fine art to ethicsmust be explained and justified as requirements of human survival. Ethics is an objective, metaphysical necessity of mans survival (p. 24). Thus,

[t]he standard of value of the Objectivist ethics is mans life, or: that which is required for mans survival qua man, (1961b: 25)

that is,

the terms, methods, conditions and goals required for the survival of a rational being through the whole of his lifespanin all those aspects of existence which are open to his choice. (1961b:

To choose to live is to accept ones own life as ones ethical purpose.

Rands metaphysical arguments make two points central to her axiology and ethics. (1) Values are not just a human phenomenon but a phenomenon of life: life necessitates value. Thus, values are neither intrinsic properties of things, nor subjective, neither free-floating Platonic entities, nor mere matters of desire or preference, culture or time. Rather, values are relational or objective, dependent on the nature of the valuing entity and the nature of its environment. (2) An entitys values are determined by the requirements of survival for entities of its kind, and ethics is a requirement of human survival.

Rand seeks to bolster this claim by arguing that the concept of value entails the concept of life:

epistemologically, the concept of value is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of life. (1961b: 18)

She supports it by asking us

to imagine an immortal, indestructible robot, an entity which moves and acts, but which cannot be affected by anything, which cannot be changed in any respect, which cannot be damaged, injured or destroyed. (1961b: 16)

Such an entity, she concludes, cannot have values.

Critics raise two objections to this argument. (i) It begs the question by assuming what is at issue, namely, that a non-living entity cannot be harmed (Nozick 1971). Unlike the robot of this example, real robots can be damaged or destroyed, not only by external events, but also by a failure to perform their functions well, that is, by their own actions or inactions. Hence they can, quite straightforwardly, be said to have values.[3] (ii) Even if one were to accept that the concept of value entails the concept of life, one could consistently regard ones survival as a means to a certain kind of life: a life of dedication to the greater glory of God, the common good, the environment, and so on (Mack 1984).

Rands naturalism, and her rejection of intrinsicism and subjectivism in favor of objectivism, anticipate recent naturalisms and echo Aristotles argument, against both the Platonist and the subjectivist, that the good must always be good-for-something. Her conception of the function of morality is notable both for its affinity to, and its difference from, Thomas Hobbes conception: like Hobbes, Rand sees morality as a necessary means to long-term survival, but unlike Hobbes, she does not see morality as requiring a contract or even as a fundamentally social affair. The need for morality, according to Rand, is dictated by our nature as creatures that must think and produce to survive; hence we would need morality even on a desert island. There is, however, no duty to survive; morality is based on a hypothetical imperative: if you choose to live, then you must value your own long-term survival as an ultimate end, and morality as a necessary means to it. (The much-debated question of whether the choice to live is a moral choice (Mack 1984, 2003; Long 2000; Rasmussen 2002, 2006) or a pre-moral one (Peikoff 1991; Gotthelf 1999; Smith 2000, 2006), and the implications of either position for the objectivity of Rands Objectivist ethics must, unfortunately, be left undiscussed.) If asked why the choice to live commits you to your own long-term survival rather than some other ultimate end (such as, for example, the greatest happiness of the greatest number (Nozick 1971), or becoming worthy of eternal life in heaven), the answer is: because any other ultimate end, if consistently adhered to, would lead to death.

Rands ethics is thus firmly teleological, this-worldly, and foundationalist. Virtue is the act by which one gains/and or keeps values in light of a recognition of certain facts (1961b: 27, 28); it is not an end in itself not its own reward (1957 [1992]: 939). A fact central to a scientific ethics is that reason is the chief indispensable human tool of survival, and we exercise reason by choice. Hence rationality is the fundamental moral virtue, a virtue implicated in all the other virtues, including productiveness (Section 2.4 below).

Rand is widely credited by Objectivists (Peikoff 1991; Binswanger 1990, 1992; Kelley & Thomas 1999see Other Internet Resources; Gotthelf 1999; Smith 2000, 2006) with having solved the is-ought problem by showing that morality is essential for long-term survival as a rational being, and so anyone who chooses to live ought to be moral (1961b: 19). But if the choice to live is itself a moral choice, in the sense that we ought to choose to live, then the argument proceeds from an ought to an ought, not from an is to an ought. On the other hand, if the choice to live is a non-moral choice (an idea thats hard to reconcile with Rands general view that all significant choices are moral choices), then suicide can never be wrong, even if it is done for cowardly, irresponsible, or unjust reasons, a view that seems incoherent (King 1984 and Narveson 1998 criticize this and other aspects of Rands moral views). Even more problematically, if morality is needed only for long-term survival, and choosing suicide is not immoral, then a suicide-bomber does no wrong in killing innocent people.

Relatedly, how should we understand the idea of survival as a rational beingthe life proper to a rational being (Rand 1961b: 27). Is a life proper to a rational being a necessary means, and only a necessary means, to literal, long-term survival? Or is such a life also, in part, the ultimate goal, something to be created and preserved for its own sake? Again, what are we to make of the many passages in which Rand states that the ultimate goal is ones own happiness?

Rand herself thought that she had only one, consistent metaethical view: the ultimate goal is the individuals own survival; the only way to survive long-term, i.e., over a complete life-span, is to live by the standard of mans life as a rational being, which means: to live morally; and happiness is the psychological result, reward and concomitant (p. 32) of living thus. Many of Rands commentators follow her in holding that there is only one consistent view, while disagreeing on the right interpretation of it (Den Uyl & Rasmussen 1978; Machan 1984, 2000; Peikoff 1991; Bidinotto 1994see Other Internet Resources; Hunt 1999; Kelley & Thomas 1999see Other Internet Resources; Gotthelf 1999; Smith 2000, 2006). Others (Mack 1984, 2003; Badhwar 1999, 2001; Long 2000) argue that Rands writings actually allow of two, if not three, mutually incompatible views of the ultimate goal, and our task is to see which of these is the dominant or most plausible view. The three views are: survival, survival qua rational being, and happiness in the ancient Aristotelian sense of flourishing or eudaimonia. In the rest of Section 2, we will present the textual evidence for each of these views of the final goal, and the common objections to them, in turn.

The survivalist view holds that just as literal survival is the ultimate value for other living entities, so it is for human beings (Kelley & Thomas 1999; Gotthelf 1999; Smith 2000). Survival is the source and final goal of all the actions of an entity, that which gives point to all its other values. For human beings, happiness, intellectual and artistic pursuits and rationality/morality are all means to survival. The vicious can achieve their goals [only] for the range of a moment, as evidenced by any criminal or any dictatorship (1961b: 26). Even those whose vice consists of imitating others rather than looting them live a precarious existence because they are likely to follow any destroyer who promises to be their savior
(1961b: 25).

Non-survivalists make the following objections:

Like Hobbes, Rand rightly points out that if everyone or most people were to start preying on each other, then no one would survive for longliterally, and that generations of predators would end up destroying or driving away the producers, and thus destroying themselves (Anthem and Atlas Shrugged). But this doesnt show that a few predators in a society of producers cannot survive by predation. Indeed, Rand herself sometimes acknowledges that evil people can survive by free-riding (hitch-hiking, as she calls it) on rational, productive people:

If some men attempt to survive by means of brute force or fraud it still remains true that their survival is made possible only by their victims, only by the men who choose to think and to produce the goods which they, the looters, are seizing. (1961b: 25)

In Mans Rights, Rand explains an individuals right to his own life as

the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (1963b: 93 and 1967a: 32122)

Life here is explicated in terms of not only continued survival but also the enjoyment proper to a human being.

For all these reasons, a more plausible interpretation of Rands view is that morality is required for surviving qua human being, that is, for living a life proper to a human being.

Just as the standard of value is survival qua human being, so the ultimate goal is ones own survival qua human being. To accept this standard and goal is to accept (i) the three cardinal values of reason, purpose (or purposiveness) and self-esteem as not only the means to but also the realization of ones ultimate value, ones own life (1961b: 27), and (ii) the three corresponding virtues of rationality, productiveness, and pride. These values are means to ones life insofar as they further ones life as a rational being, and they realize it insofar as they express the value we place on our lives.

What it means to value survival qua human being turns on the relationship of the three cardinal values to the three virtues. Rand often states that virtue is only a means to value. But when she explains how the three cardinal values correspond to their three virtues, she does not provide a means-end analysis (Badhwar 1999, 2001). Thus, she says:

Productive work is the central purpose of a rational mans life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive workpride is the result. (1961b: 27)

The virtue of productiveness becomes the central example of purpose (one of the three cardinal values), reason (another cardinal value) becomes its source, and the virtue of pride becomes its result. Rand also defines rationality, which is the basic virtue, in terms of

the recognition and acceptance of reason as ones only source of knowledge and ones only guide to action. (1961b: 28)

By this definition, being rational means valuing reason in thought, word, and deed, and realizing reason in ones life means being rational: the virtue and the value entail each other.

This point generalizes to all the virtues and values. Further, since the (cardinal) values are both the means to and the realization of ones ultimate value (1961b: 27), it follows that the (cardinal) virtues are also both the means to and the realization of ones ultimate value: long-term survival qua human being. On this interpretation, to survive qua human being is none other than to lead a virtuous life in which one has realized ones potential.

Both survivalists and eudaimonists, however, point out that this conception of the final end contradicts Rands oft-repeated claim that Virtue is not an end in itself. In addition, eudaimonists make the following objections:

Eudaimonists hold that the dominant and/or more plausible view expressed in Rands writings is that happinessa happy lifeis the ultimate value, where a happy life is understood as a life of emotional fulfillment in worthwhile goals and activities. Happiness in this sense necessarily involves virtue, but is not identical with virtue (Den Uyl & Rasmussen 1978; Machan 1984, 2000; Mack 1984; Badhwar 1999, 2001; Hunt 1999; Long 2000).[4]

Happiness is the existentially and psychologically successful state of life (1961b: 27). As an emotion it is not simply a positive subjective state, as on some contemporary views, but an emotion that meets certain normative standards: a state of non-contradictory joya joy without penalty or guilt, achievable only by

the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions. (1961b: 32)

Happiness is also a form of life-affirmation:

the feeling of ones blessing upon the whole of the earth, the feeling of being in love with the fact that one exists and in this kind of world. (1957 [1992]: 1056)

Thus, happiness is an objectively worthwhile and emotionally positive state of life.

Rand holds that the pursuit of happiness is inseparable from the activity of maintaining ones life through the rational pursuit of rational goals (1961b: 29, 32). A virtuous life is, thus, essential to happiness. It is also a shield against soul-wracking unhappiness. Just as even great misfortunes dont throw Aristotles virtuous individual into misery, they dont throw Rands heroes into misery. Even at the worst of times, the virtuous individuals pain only goes down to a certain point (1943: 344), never touching the core of her being: the self-esteem that consists of the conviction that she is worthy and capable of happiness.[5]

In keeping with their richer conception of the final end, Rands novels also employ a richer conception of virtue as an integrated intellectual-emotional character trait to think, feel, and act in certain ways, rather than simply as an act in light of a recognition of certain facts (Badhwar 1999, 2001). Her characters reveal their souls not only in what they say or do, notice or fail to notice, focus on or evade, on this or that occasion, but in their cognitive, emotional, and action dispositions, their style of being in the world. Their actions show not only an intellectual commitment to the right but a wholehearted love of rectitude (1957 [1992]: 512).

This basically Aristotelian view of virtue goes hand-in-hand with a basically Aristotelian view of emotions. Rand rejects the reason-emotion dichotomy as stemming, ultimately, from a false mind-body dichotomy. Emotions are neither raw feelings nor inherently irrational but automatized value-judgments:

estimates of that which furthers mans values or threatens them lightning calculators giving him the sum of his profit or loss. (1961b: 27)

Emotions provide instant guidance when circumstances do not permit reasoning everything out anew. But our emotions are only as good as our reason, because they are programmed by our reason. Hence they can only be corrected by conscious reasoning, and in a conflict between reason and emotions, one must always side with the former.[6]

Eudaimonists argue that Rands vision of a virtuous and happy life in her novels can be understood only as a form of eudaimonism, even if she often makes statements inconsistent with this vision. The chief objection to
eudaimonism is that, by defining a happy life partly in terms of virtue, it employs an unconvincing conception of happiness. The philosophical literature on happiness in this sense (usually called well-being) makes and answers many such objections (Badhwar 2014).

The chief Objectivist virtues are rationality, integrity, honesty (with self and others), justice, independence, productiveness, and pride. Rationality,

ones total commitment to the maintenance of a full mental focus in all issues, in all choices to the fullest perception of reality within ones power, (1961b: 28)

is the basic virtue of which the other virtues are aspects or derivatives. The virtues are thus united or reciprocal. Each virtue is defined partly in terms of a recognition and whole-hearted commitment to some fact or facts, a commitment understood by the agent to be indispensable for gaining, maintaining, or expressing her ultimate value. For example, integrity is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake your consciousness (1957 [1992]: 936), a recognition that is expressed in loyalty to ones rational values and convictions, especially in the face of social pressures to surrender them (1961b: 28; 1964a: 52, 80); honesty is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake existence, a recognition that is expressed in truthfulness in thought and speech (1957 [1992]: 93637); and justice is

the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake the character of men as you cannot fake the character of nature, that every man must be judged for what he is and treated accordingly. (1957 [1992]: 937)

Conspicuous by their absence from Rands list of the cardinal virtues are the virtues of benevolence, such as kindness, charity, generosity, and forgiveness. Rand states that charity is not a major virtue or moral duty (1964b); likewise, presumably, kindness, generosity, and forgiveness. Whether, and how much, one should help others depends on their place in ones rationally defined hierarchy of values, and on the particular circumstances (whether they are worthy of help, what the likely consequences are of helping them, and so on). The greater their value vis–vis ones rational self-interest, the greater the help that one should be willing to give, ceteris paribus. What is never morally appropriate is making sacrifices, that is, surrendering something of value to oneself for the sake of something of less or no value to oneself. Thus, it can never be moral to knowingly risk ones life for a stranger (unless, of course, ones life is no longer worth living) or to court unhappiness for the happiness of another, whether stranger or friend. It is appropriate to help a stranger only in an emergency, and only when the risk to our own life or well-being is minimal (1963c: 4345). This should not be taken to imply that helping a stranger is morally optional, regardless of the strangers plight. Indeed, people who are totally indifferent to anything living and would not lift a finger to help a man or a dog left mangled by a hit-and-run driver are psychopaths (1963c: 4345) Rand makes even more concessions to common sense morality when she states that its good to help a neighbor going through a hard time till he can get back on his own feet, if we can afford to and if we have no reason to think that he is undeserving. Charity understood thus is a virtue because it is an expression of the generalized good will and respect that all normal people have towards others as creatures who share with them the capacity to value (1963c: 4647). Nathaniel Branden tries to reconcile charity with a narrow act-egoism by declaring that the former stems from a species-identification with another, such that, in revering others, people are revering their own life. By acting charitably, people actualize this sense of kinship, without sacrificing their own well-being.

This last is true, but the desire to reduce all motivations to act-egoistic motivations leads Branden (and Rand and many Objectivists) to ignore the fact that charity is first and foremost profoundly other-regarding, prompted by anothers plight rather than concern for ones own self-actualization The same is true of trying to rescue a dog mangled by a hit-and-run driver, where the egoistic motivation is even weaker, since here there is no species-identification, but rather only a genus-identification with another sufferer.

At any rate, the argument from identification can also be used to justify charity towards strangers in non-emergency situations, for example, for those who are permanently disabled and unable to care for themselves (Badhwar forthcoming-b). Rand concedes as much in What is Capitalism? (1965) where she argues that people who are unable to work must rely on voluntary charity, thus implying that it is proper for those who can afford it to support strangers in non-emergency situations.

The question arises why Rand thinks that charity, kindness etc. are not major virtues when they meet all the conditions of appropriateness: the recipient is worthy of help, one can afford to help, it is in ones rational self-interest (or not contrary to it) to help, and so on. Perhaps Rand thinks that they are minor virtues because we are not obligated to act on them at all times, the way we are obligated to act justly and honestly at all times. A deeper reason, however, might be her conception of people as essentially agents rather than patients, doers rather than receivers, self-sufficient rather than dependent. Nevertheless, Rands view of the unity of the virtues dictates that, even if we are not obligated to act on charity, kindness etc. at all times, they are just as important to possess as the other virtues. Moreover, in keeping with her emphasis on the importance of goodwill towards others and the benevolent universe premise, Rands heroes are often extraordinarily (and almost always appropriately) kind and generous, not only to those they love but also to mere acquaintances, and even sometimes adversaries (Badhwar 1993bsee Other Internet Resources). Striking examples include, from The Fountainhead, Howard Roarks unsought-for attempt to give hope and courage to Steven Mallory, the gifted young sculptor whose failure to get work has driven him to the verge of a spiritual and physical collapse; Roarks unreproachful help to his erstwhile adversary, Peter Keating, when Keating falls on hard times; and from Atlas Shrugged, Dagnys support to a heart-broken and despairing Cheryl Taggart who, in the past, has treated Dagny with scorn; and Hank Reardens generosity towards his exploitative family before he realizes their exploitativeness.[7] By contrast, Rands villains lack genuine goodwill towards others and, thus, lack true kindness or generosity.

Just as rationality, a focus on reality, is at the heart of every virtue, so irrationality, evasion of reality (including self-deception), is at the heart of every vice. Rands villains are all master evaders motivated by a desire for power, social status, fame, or unearned wealth, and resentment of the good. They are second-handerspeople whose primary relationship is to other people rather than to reality. Between the virtuous and the vicious are the innocently wrong, people who adopt wrong moral principles or make wrong choices, not through evasion but through an error of judgment (Rand does not explicitly recognize any moral category other than virtue, vice, and moral error, although her novels portray characters that do not easily fit into any of these categories). Hank Rearden, in Atlas Shrugged, is the great innocent living under a burden of unearned guilt because of his mistaken sense of honor and his charity towar
ds a family interested only in manipulating and using him. Cheryl Taggart is killed by the too-sudden revelation that the man she loved and admired as the embodiment of her ideals is a fraudand that the world is full of such frauds.

As already indicated, Rand justifies virtue in both instrumental and non-instrumental terms, though without distinguishing between them. The instrumental arguments show the existential and psychological rewards of virtue and costs of vice. Virtue creates a sense of inner harmony and enables mutually beneficial interactions with others. Evasiveness, by contrast, traps one in a tangled web of rationalizations and pretenses. The evader who deceives others is either eventually caught, or lives in fear of being caught, becoming dependent on others unconsciousness. He is a fool, says a character in Atlas Shrugged, whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling (1957 [1992]: 945). Further, like Sartre, Rand holds that no evasion is completely successful, because the truth constantly threatens to resurface. Hence, the evaders diseased soul is in a state of constant inner conflict and anxiety as he tries to suppress his awareness of uncomfortable truths while maintaining his hold on others. His lack of integrity and of esteem for reality results in a lack of self-love or self-esteem and, indeed, of a solid self. (It is noteworthy, however, that her portrayal of Gail Wynand in The Fountainhead is closer to Aristotles portrayal of the vicious man in Book III of the Nicomachean Ethics as someone who is unconscious of his vice, than to her own stated view of the evader.)

These views are familiar from the history of philosophy, but many readers find their expression in Rands novels to be of unusual psychological depth and conviction. Nevertheless, the views are subject to the well-known objection that the complexity and variability of human psychology and society allow only for the most part generalizations about the existential and psychological benefits of virtue or costs of vice. Thus, it is possible for a small injustice to lead to great rewards, especially since others are willing to shrug off or forgive occasional transgressions. It is also possible for poor introspection, forgetfulness, or self-acceptance to allow one to evade something without any need for supporting evasions or damage to ones self-esteem. Again, even if every wrongdoing carries psychological costs, these might sometimes be outweighed by the long-term costs of doing the right thing (as Rand herself suggests in her portrayal of the embittered Henry Cameron and Stephen Mallory in The Fountainhead).

The non-instrumentalist justification of virtue in Rands novels is largely immune to these objections (though subject to the objections noted in 2.4 above). To compromise morally is, necessarily, to compromise ones own (objectively conceived) happiness, because no existential loss can compare to the loss of moral integrity. Rectitude is partly constitutive of genuine happiness because it expresses the right relationship to reality: to existence, to oneself, and to others. For the same reason, it is partly constitutive of a self worth loving, an ideally human or rational self. Like Plato and Aristotle, Rand argues that virtue necessarily creates inner harmony and certitude. Any value gained at the price of rectitude is only the simulacrum of genuine value. In a variety of conceptually interconnected ways, then, virtuous individuals are necessarily better off than those willing to take moral short-cuts. In its structure and much of its content, Rands ethical egoism is thus of a piece with the egoism of ancient eudaimonistic theories.

An objection often levied against egoistic theories is that they give the wrong reason for acting in other-regarding ways: justly, kindly, etc. My act is not really just if I give you your due because it is good for me rather than because you deserve it; it is not really charitable if I help you for my own benefit rather than yours. A common reply is that the egoists justification is egoistic but not her motivation, a reply that itself invites the charge of moral schizophrenia. Rand does not address the wrong-reason objection, but its unlikely that she would accept this dichotomy between justification and motivation. So insofar as her view is instrumentalist and act-egoistic, the problem remains. The non-instrumentalist strand in her theory, however, implies that the objection itself is mistaken, because giving you what you deserve/merit is partly constitutive of my rational interests; there is no conflict between your rational interests and mine (cf. 1964a: 5765).

Rand regards goodwill towards others, or a generalized benevolence, as an offshoot of proper self-love, with no independent source in human nature. There is only one alternative to being rationally self-interested: sacrificing ones proper interests, either for the sake of other people (which she equates with altruism) or for the sake of the supernatural (which she calls mysticism) (1982a: ch. 7). Kants ethics is a secularized mysticism insofar as it rests on categorical commands and duty for dutys sake, which is to say: regardless of any earthly desire or interest (1970). An altruistic ethics equates right action with self-sacrifice for the sake of others good and immorality with selfishness, while saying nothing about the standard of the good (Introduction, 1964a: iii; 1974). It thus fails to answer the prior question of what code of values we should follow and why, and provides no motivation to be moral other than guilt over selfishness. When taken to its logical conclusion, altruism does not simply tell us that it is selfish to pursue our own desires, but also that it is selfish to uphold [our own] convictions, [that we] must sacrifice them to the convictions of others (Rand 1957 [1992]: 943; Galts Speech, Rand 1961a: 142). In foreign policy, altruism is used to justify and gain support for Americas intervention in other countries (1966a). Altruism is also the reason why so many sympathize with, or even praise, bloody dictatorships that proudly proclaim that the sacrifice of the individual is a necessary and noble means to the goal of the collective good (Rand 1966a).

As a moral code, altruism is impractical, because its requirements are contrary to the requirements of life and happiness, both the agents and other peoples. As such, it is also profoundly immoral. Altruism leaves us without any moral guidance in our everyday lives and gives morality a bad name.

What, then, is the psychological explanation for the widespread equation of altruism with morality? Rand suggests various explanations reminiscent of Nietzsches analysis of the psychology of altruism. The theorists and preachers of altruism are motivated largely by a desire to control and manipulate others by playing on their guilt. Those who accept their teachings typically do so either because of guilt over their own superior achievements, or because, lacking any intellectual integrity, love of truthor a passionate dedication to an idea, they have nothing much worth saving, and so do not mind sacrificing themselves (Selfishness Without a Self, 1973b; 1982a). Some altruists are altruists because their mentalities are still frozen in a tribal past when survival required the sacrifice of some for the sake of others (1973b). Rand herself rejects a zero-sum picture of human relationships, so long as everyone in the relationship acts rationally.

Rands defense of selfishness and rejection of altruism are part of the reason both for her popularity with the general reader, and her unpopularity with philosophers and other intellectuals, alth
ough some would no doubt agree with her rejection of abject self-sacrifice and her recognition of proper concern with the self as moral (Falk 1963; Gilligan 1982; Hampton 1993; Badhwar 1993a). The general reader who responds positively to Rands work finds, for the first time, a moral justification for pursuing a life of her or his own and a liberation from unearned guilt. The philosopher who responds negatively to her work finds many biased and simplistic interpretations of philosophers and philosophical doctrines, including her claim that she is the first to consistently defend a morality of rational self-interest, all other philosophers having defended either altruism or mysticism (Pojman 1995). Her critics also challenge her equation of altruism with abject self-sacrifice (Rachels 2000, Flew 1984), and her claim (explained below) that there is no conflict between peoples rational interests (Flew 1984). An adequate interpretation of her views, however, requires attention both to the fact that, in the absence of special obligations created by bonds of love, contract, or family, she regards others needs as making no claim on us, and to the fact that she is an uncompromising defender of justice, honesty, and respect for others as ends in themselves.

Rands moral society is a society of independent individuals who respect each others natural rights to life, liberty, and property, and who trade value for value, materially and spiritually. They live, in her words, by the trader principle. Individual (natural) rights and the trader principle are both dictated by the fact that, as rational, independent beings, we need to think and act for our proper survival (1961b: 31). Both are required by respect for individuals as ends in themselves, not mere means to others ends.

Rights are a moral conceptthe concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individuals actions to the principles guiding his relationship with othersthe concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social contextthe link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law. (1963b: 92).

These natural rights are basically rights to actions, not to things or outcomes, and they can be violated only through the initiation of force or fraud. Hence, all natural rights are negative, that is, claims on others non-interference, and not claims on them to provide one with certain goods or outcomes.[8] The fundamental right is the right to life: the right to take the actions necessary for sustaining the life proper to a human being.

The right to life meansthe freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.). (1963b: 93)

The right to liberty is the right to act (including to write and speak) on ones judgment; the right to the pursuit of happiness is the right to pursue goals for ones own fulfillment; the right to property is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values (1963b: 94). Like the mind-body dichotomy, the common dichotomy between human rights and the right to property is a false one, because to own ones life is to own ones actions and their fruits (1962b: 91).[9] Just as there is a causal and logical connection between the virtues, so there is between these rights: a government that violates human rights also violates property rights. Thus, for example, in violating the right to freedom of expression by banning obscene speech on TV, the government violates the property right of the owners of the TV station to use their property as they see fit. Like other libertarians, both right (market) and left (egalitarian), Rand opposes state regulation of morality, as well as forced service to the state, whether military or civilian. She criticizes both conservatives and liberals (as these terms are understood in American politics) for wanting government to control the realm they regard as important: the spiritual or moral realm in the case of conservatives, and the material or economic realm in the case of liberals (1981b). Both sides thus betray a lack of understanding of the fact that human beings need to be free in both realms to be free in either.

There is much that is of great value here, especially Rands insight that we would not have rights if we did not need them for our survival and happiness (Miller & Mossoff forthcoming; Badhwar forthcoming-a). But critics point out that grounding all rights in the right to take the actions necessary for proper survival entails that one has no right to take actions that are contrary to proper survival: blindly following a guru instead of thinking for oneself, living off others because one prefers the life of a couch potato to fending for oneself, wasting ones property instead of using it wisely, or, most obviously, committing suicide (Mack 1984; Zwolinski forthcoming; Badhwar forthcoming-a). Yet the freedom to do only that which is morally good or rational is not a freedom at all. But this is not Rands consistent position. For example, she also says that, as fallible creatures, human beings

must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. (1965: 17)

Some commentators rely on this statement to argue that Rand is not restricting rights to actions that are necessary for proper survival (Miller & Mossoff forthcoming). But it would be more accurate to say that, while this position is the one that is compatible with her deep-seated commitment to liberty and a minimal government, she also often makes statements that entail the opposite.

Rand argues that the only just social-political system, the only system compatible with our rational nature and with the right of individuals to live for their own sakes, is capitalism (1965, 1967b), that is,

laissez-faire capitalismwith a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church. (1961b, 1964a)

State regulation of the market, she argues, is responsible for corrupting both state and market institutions, just as political regulation of religion (or religious regulation of politics), wherever it exists, corrupts both state and religious institutions. Regulation creates the opportunity for the trading of favors between politicians and religious leaders, and politicians and businesses. Atlas Shrugged offers a complex and compelling depiction of the economic, political, and moral corruption spawned by cronyism between government and business. Laissez-faire capitalism is the only [social] system that bans force from social relationships domestically and abroad, because the trader and the warrior are antagonists (Rand 1966a). Rands conception of capitalism is, thus, more radical than the mainstream conception, and her defense of it significantly different both from the utilitarian defenses given by most economists, and the religious defenses given by many conservatives (see Den Uyl & Rasmussen 1984b; Machan 1984). She does, of course, praise capitalism (or semi-capitalism) for creating widespread prosperity, but this feature is itself explained only by the fact that it leaves individuals free to produce in peace. In Atlas Shrugged, Rand distinguishes between the few business people who earn their money through honest effort, without seeking favors from the gover
nment, and the vast majority who are members of the aristocracy of pull (crony capitalists, in contemporary terminology) and get rich only through such favors, a situation that she thinks prevails, and has always prevailed, in the real world (Rand 1964c). She holds that for a short period in the nineteenth-century America came closer to a laissez-faire system than any other society before or since, but that capitalism remains an unknown ideal. Some critics complain, however, that in her non-fiction (1961c) Rand does not always recognize the aristocrats of pull in the real worldbusiness leaders who lobby politicians for subsidies for themselves and restrictions on their competitors (Rothbard 1968; Johnson 2006).

Rand rejects the criticism that unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism would lead to a concentration of power in a few hands and undermine equality of opportunity because laissez-faire capitalism requires the rule of law, a well-defined system of property rights, freedom of contract, and, as a corollary, a government that abstains from all favoritism.

Rand holds that there is no conflict between one persons rational interests and anothers, hence that respecting other peoples rights is perfectly compatible with advancing or preserving ones own interests. Is it true, however, that rational interests cannot conflict? It seems that whenever two people have an interest in one good, for example, a job, and are equally qualified to have it, their rational interests conflict, Perhaps what Rand has in mind is that rational interests dont necessarily conflict, that is, that it is not in their nature to conflict. Their conflict is due to external factors, such as only one job for two qualified people. But is such conflict compatible with rights in an egoistic framework? And can rights be defended within an egoistic framework? Critics object that respect for others rights cannot be justified only as a means to ones ultimate value, whether this be survival or happiness (Mack 1984; Flew 1984). For under perfectly realistic scenarios, ones ultimate value can require one to violate anothers right to life or property. In her justification of rights we see the same unresolved tension between the instrumentalist strand and the deontic strand that we do in her justification of morality in general (Mack 1984, 2003). The eudaimonist strand in Rands justification, however, allows her to respond that respect for others rights expresses our recognition of the fact that others are ends in themselves, a recognition that is required by justice, and that justice, along with the other virtues, is necessary for leading a happy life.

Rand defines government as

an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area. (1963a: 125)

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Ayn Rand (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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Ayn Rand – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

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Ayn Rand, seudnimo de Alisa Zinvievna Rosenbaum (San Petersburgo, Imperio ruso, 2 de febrero de 1905-Nueva York, Estados Unidos, 6 de marzo de 1982), filsofa y escritora estadounidense de origen judo ruso, ampliamente conocida por haber escrito los superventas El manantial y La rebelin de Atlas, y por haber desarrollado un sistema filosfico al que denomin objetivismo.

Rand defenda el egosmo racional, el individualismo y el capitalismo laissez faire, argumentando que es el nico sistema econmico que le permite al ser humano vivir como ser humano, es decir, haciendo uso de su facultad de razonar. En consecuencia, rechazaba absolutamente el socialismo, el altruismo y la religin.

Entre sus principios sostena que el hombre debe elegir sus valores y sus acciones mediante la razn, que cada individuo tiene derecho a existir por s mismo, sin sacrificarse por los dems ni sacrificando a otros para s, y que nadie tiene derecho a obtener valores provenientes de otros recurriendo a la fuerza fsica.[1]

Teniendo la conviccin de que los gobiernos tienen una funcin legtima pero limitada, a Ayn Rand no se le puede confundir con una anarcocapitalista, pudiendo en cambio ser considerada liberal y minarquista, pese a que ella nunca aplic este ltimo trmino para referirse a s misma.

Ayn Rand ( , Alisa Zinvievna Rosenbaum) naci el 2 de febrero de 1905 en San Petersburgo (Imperio ruso), era la mayor de tres hermanos de una familia juda, cuyos padres no eran practicantes de esta religin. Desde muy joven sinti un fuerte inters por la literatura y por el arte cinematogrfico, empezando a escribir novelas y guiones a los siete aos. Ley las novelas de Alejandro Dumas, Walter Scott, entre otros escritores romnticos, y expres un apasionado entusiasmo por el movimiento romntico. Descubri a Vctor Hugo a los trece aos: qued prendada por sus novelas. Aprendi francs gracias a su madre.

Durante sus aos en la escuela secundaria, fue testigo tanto de la Revolucin de Kerensky y la Revolucin Bolchevique en 1917. Para escapar de los combates, su familia se fue a Crimea, donde ella termin la escuela secundaria.

Una vez que su familia regres de Crimea, Ayn Rand se matricul en la Universidad de San Petersburgo para estudiar filosofa e historia. Se gradu en 1924. Como admiradora del cine, se inscribi en 1924 en el Instituto Estatal de Artes Cinematogrficas para aprender a escribir guiones cinematogrficos. Fue en esta poca cuando consigui publicar por primera vez: un folleto sobre la actriz Pola Negri (1925), y un folleto titulado Hollywood: American Movie City (1926); ambos han sido reimpresos en 1999 en los llamados Escritos de Rusia en Hollywood.

A finales de 1925 obtuvo permiso de salir de la Rusia sovitica para visitar a sus familiares en los Estados Unidos. Aunque les dijo a las autoridades soviticas que su visita sera corta, estaba decidida a no regresar nunca a Rusia. Pas los siguientes seis meses con sus parientes en Chicago, obtuvo una prrroga de su visado, y luego continu a Hollywood para seguir la carrera de guionista.

Descubri tambin en la Universidad a Nietzsche, de quien apreciaba mucho su exaltacin de lo heroico y del individuo heroico, aunque aos ms tarde critic fuertemente lo irracional de su filosofa.

Su mayor influencia la recibi de Aristteles, al que consideraba el mayor filsofo del mundo y apreciaba en especial su rganon (Lgica).

Ayn Rand detestaba a Rusia, sobre todo desde la revolucin de 1917, que haba expropiado a su padre su negocio de farmacia y empeorado an ms sus condiciones de vida. Conociendo Nueva York por las pelculas estadounidenses, Ayn Rand tena muy claro que quera emigrar a los Estados Unidos. Aos ms tarde escribi Los que vivimos, un relato de primera mano de esos aos y de la atmsfera de la Rusia de entonces, sobre el cual dijo: Es lo ms cercano a una autobiografa que haya escrito nunca.

A finales de 1925, Ayn Rand consigui un visado para abandonar el pas y visitar a parientes suyos ya establecidos en Estados Unidos, a donde lleg en febrero de 1926, con 21 aos.

Ayn estuvo un tiempo en casa de sus parientes en Chicago. Ms tarde se traslad a Hollywood, donde aceptaba cualquier tipo de trabajo para pagar sus gastos bsicos. Casualmente conoci all a Cecil B. De Mille, quien se interes por esta rusa recin llegada a Estados Unidos y fascinada por el mundo del cine. Cecil B. De Mille le mostr el funcionamiento bsico de un estudio de cine y le ofreci trabajo como extra, que Ayn Rand acept, y apareci as de forma visible entre los extras en el metraje definitivo de Rey de reyes [1] (metraje visible en el documental en el DVD Ayn Rand, a sense of life). En el rodaje de la pelcula conoci, adems, al que sera su marido el resto de su vida: el tambin actor Frank O’Connor, con quien se cas en 1929.

En 1931 Ayn Rand adquiri la ciudadana de los Estados Unidos de Amrica.

En 1936 escribi: Llmenlo destino o irona, pero yo nac, de entre todos los pases de la Tierra, en el menos conveniente para una fantica del individualismo: Rusia. Decid ser escritora a la edad de nueve aos, y todo lo que he hecho se ha circunscrito a tal propsito. Soy estadounidense por eleccin y conviccin. Nac en Europa, pero emigr a los Estados Unidos de Amrica porque este era el pas donde una poda sentirse totalmente libre para escribir.

Ayn Rand estaba muy satisfecha de ser ciudadana estadounidense, y en 1973 dijo en una conferencia que dio en West Point: Puedo decir, y no como un mero patrioterismo, sino con el conocimiento completo de las necesarias races metafsicas, epistemolgicas, ticas, polticas y estticas, que Estados Unidos de Amrica es el ms grande, noble y, en sus principios fundadores originales, el nico pas moral en la historia del mundo.

Ayn Rand fue sometida a ciruga por cncer de pulmn en 1974 luego de dcadas de fumar mucho.[2] En 1976, dej de escribir en su peridico y, a pesar de sus objeciones iniciales, le permiti a Evva Pryor, una trabajadora social de la oficina de su abogado, que la inscribiese en la Seguridad Social y Medicare.[3][4]

Ayn Rand muri en 1982. Est enterrada junto a su marido en el cementerio de Valhalla (Estado de Nueva York).

Las novelas ms importantes de Ayn Rand son los superventas El manantial (1943) y La rebelin de Atlas (1957).

Sus novelas crearon el arquetipo del hroe randiano, un individuo racional digno de vivir en la tierra, ya que puede lograr lo mejor de s mismo, un hombre cuya habilidad e independencia lo hacen entrar en conflicto con los hombres-masa, pero que aun as persevera, alcanzando finalmente la realizacin de sus valores.

En 1932 consigue vender su primer guion cinematogrfico, Red pawn (Pen rojo), a los estudios Universal.

En 1934 Ayn escribe la obra de teatro Night of January 16th (La noche del 16 de enero, conocida tambin como Penthouse Legend), que incorpora la novedad absoluta en el mundo del teatro de incorporar al pblico que desee participar en un jurado al final de la obra que debe decidir sobre la inocencia o culpabilidad de la protagonista. En la nota inicial dirigida al productor de la obra, Ayn Rand explica:

La obra est construida de tal manera que las pruebas de la culpabilidad o la inocencia de la acusada estn cuidadosamente contrapesadas, y la decisin se basar en el carcter y valores del jurado. Es realmente a la audiencia a la que se juzga. En palabras del abogado defensor: A quin se juzga en este caso? A Karen Andre [coprotagonista de la obra]? No!, son ustedes, damas y caballeros del jurado, quienes estn siendo juzgados. Son sus almas las que sern puestas
a la luz cuando hayan tomado su decisin.

Ayn Rand

La obra se sigue representando con xito como parte del repertorio clsico de obras de teatro para compaas de aficionados en Estados Unidos.

En 1936 publica We the living (Los que vivimos) que, segn Ayn Rand, fue lo ms parecido a una autobiografa que hubiese nunca escrito. En Los que vivimos se narra la vida dramtica de una mujer de espritu independiente bajo el rgimen totalitario sovitico.

La novela no fue bien recibida inicialmente en Estados Unidos, que estaba sumergido en la Gran Depresin y en lo que a veces all se llama la dcada roja, esto es, la dcada de mximo apogeo de las ideas socialistas y comunistas en aquel pas.

Sin el permiso ni el conocimiento de Ayn Rand (quien se enter de toda la historia despus de la Segunda Guerra Mundial), la Italia de Mussolini rod en 1942 dos pelculas basadas en la novela: Noi vivi y Addio, Kira, de los estudios Scalara Films. Las pelculas eran un intento de propaganda antisovitica por parte del rgimen italiano, y fueron un gran xito en Italia. Orgullosos de su xito, prepararon copias que enviaron a los nazis alemanes, quienes se enfurecieron al ver la pelcula y aconsejaron a los italianos su inmediata retirada de la circulacin. Los jerarcas nazis, ms coherentes en su ideologa antiliberal que los italianos, percibieron inmediatamente que el mensaje del libro no era tan slo antisovitico, sino adems antitotalitario, y que el libro no criticaba slo el totalitarismo sovitico, sino cualquier forma de totalitarismo.[5]

Estas pelculas fueron tambin proyectadas sin permiso de Ayn Rand en la Espaa de Francisco Franco. Ayn Rand pidi derechos atrasados a ambos pases.[6] Finalmente, Ayn Rand an en vida autoriz una reedicin de estas pelculas, las cuales fueron finalmente comercializadas para vdeo domstico en 1986.[7]

Himno (Anthem, titulada Vivir! en las primeras ediciones en espaol) es una novela corta que presenta en trminos altamente simblicos la lucha de un individualista contra una sociedad del futuro en la cual el colectivismo ha triunfado. Se trata de una distopa en la que el concepto de individualidad ha desaparecido (por ejemplo, el pronombre yo ha sido eliminado del lenguaje) y en la que se aprecian numerosas similitudes con la novela Nosotros (1921), de Yevgeni Zamiatin, pero tambin notables diferencias en el tono (serio en Rand, satrico en Zamiatin) y en el discurrir de la historia. Los temas que constituyen el ncleo de Himno sern desarrollados en posteriores obras extensas de Rand, como El manantial y La rebelin de Atlas.

Himno no encontr editor en Estados Unidos y fue publicada primero en el Reino Unido en 1938. Por razones algo abstrusas, es la nica obra de Rand que se encuentra en el dominio pblico en Estados Unidos (no as en otros pases), lo que ha permitido incorporarla al Proyecto Gutenberg.

En 1943 vino el primer xito importante de Ayn Rand como novelista, con la publicacin de El manantial (The fountainhead). El libro, que haba tardado siete aos en escribir, fue rechazado por doce editores, hasta que, en la editorial Bobbs-Merrill, un editor joven le espet a su jefe: Si este no es un libro adecuado para usted, entonces yo tampoco debo trabajar para usted.[8]

En 1949 se realiz una versin flmica de El manantial, dirigida por King Vidor y protagonizada por Gary Cooper (Howard Roark), Patricia Neal (Dominique Francon), Raymond Massey (Gail Wynand) y Kent Smith (Peter Keating).

El guion fue escrito por Ayn Rand y controlado minuciosamente por ella misma de una forma completamente desacostumbrada en Hollywood, donde los estudios se toman todo tipo de libertades con los guiones originales. En varias ocasiones durante el rodaje, Ayn amenaz con suspender todo el proyecto si el guion sufra la ms leve modificacin. Tanto Gary Cooper como Ayn Rand no quedaron satisfechos con la pelcula. Gary Cooper, quizs ya demasiado mayor para un papel que en el libro corresponde a un hombre joven, pronunci el famoso discurso final sin entenderlo realmente, cosa que se nota en la entonacin y el nfasis. Ayn Rand tuvo que luchar mucho para mantener la integridad del guion, y aun as tampoco qued satisfecha con la pelcula, llegando a afirmar que lo nico bueno que tena era que conseguira nuevos lectores para la novela. No obstante, la pelcula es muy apreciada hoy en da en crculos objetivistas y, dado lo irregular de su distribucin, suele estar disponible en redes P2P.

El fundamento de El manantial es el individualismo y el colectivismo en el alma humana. La obra se concentra en las vidas de los cinco principales personajes. El hroe, Howard Roark, es la persona ideal para Rand: Un arquitecto intransigente que est completamente entregado firmemente, aun cuando de manera serena, a sus ideales, especialmente creyendo que ninguna persona debe jams copiar el estilo de otra, sobre todo en el campo de la arquitectura. A lo largo de la novela, todos los dems protagonistas en algn momento u otro, por diferentes razones y con distintos grados de nfasis, le piden que renuncie a algunos de sus principios. Sin embargo, Howard se mantiene inclume y no compromete su integridad. Un aspecto interesante e impactante de la personalidad de Howard es que, en contraste con las formas acostumbradas de los hroes tpicos, no se lanza a explicar sus puntos de vista y por qu el mundo no es lugar justo por medio de largos y apasionados sermones y monlogos; todo lo contrario, Howard lo hace de forma desdeosa, lacnica y altiva.

La rebelin de Atlas (Atlas Shrugged) es considerada por muchos la obra de ficcin ms completa y poderosa de Rand sobre la filosofa objetivista. En los aos ochenta, la Biblioteca del Congreso de los Estados Unidos hizo una encuesta, preguntando cul era el libro que mayor influencia haba tenido en la vida de los encuestados. El primero en el rnking fue La Biblia, el segundo, La rebelin de Atlas.

La rebelin de Atlas es el principal motivo, por encima de cualesquiera otros, por el que ms individuos confiesan haber llegado a ser libertarios o, dicho de otro modo, anarcocapitalistas.[9]

El libro narra la decadencia de los Estados Unidos como consecuencia del excesivo intervencionismo del gobierno. A pesar de que el libro se escribi entre los aos 1946 y 1957, algunas personas ven en la lectura del proceso de destruccin econmico que el libro narra, una situacin de deterioro econmico similar al vivido por Cuba a partir de 1960. [citarequerida]

El libro divide la fibra social de Estados Unidos en dos clases: la de los saqueadores y la de los nosaqueadores.

Galt, desde su escondite en las montaas, da rdenes, sugiere iniciativas y mueve todos los hilos. Junto con l, se refugian los principales empresarios. Durante el tiempo que dura la huelga y la desaparicin de los empresarios, el sistema estadounidense se va hundiendo bajo el peso del cada vez ms opresivo intervencionismo estatal. La obra termina cuando los empresarios deciden abandonar por completo el “Mundo Exterior” para volver a las “Montaas Rocosas” y comenzar una nueva sociedad.

Rand quera llamar a su novela La huelga. El ttulo La rebelin de Atlas le fue sugerido por su esposo, pues as equipara el empresario al titn mtico que carga a sus espaldas los destinos del mundo. Cuando la obra apareci, llam la atencin por lo atrevido y osado del planteamiento para ese entonces. Hasta ese momento, ni siquiera en Estados Unidos alguien se haba atrevido a realizar un planteamiento en el que los empresarios fuesen los buenos y el Estado el malvado.

Para Ayn Rand, el hecho de que una huelga pudiera hundir en el caos a los Estados Unidos es la
confirmacin de que el pas no puede vivir sin su clase empresarial, que la poltica debe subordinarse a las necesidades de la economa empresarial y, finalmente, que es preciso volver al espritu de los primeros colonos que se sublevaron contra Inglaterra en el siglo XVIII: lucharon contra el intervencionismo estatal y en defensa de sus derechos individuales. Lo que propone Rand es volver al origen de la tradicin americana, solo que el hroe ya no es un granjero que se subleva contra los ingleses, sino el patrono que lucha contra el intervencionismo subyugante del Estado y cuyo esfuerzo es el que verdaderamente crea riqueza.

Al poco tiempo de salir se vendieron cuatro millones de ejemplares de la obra. Luego de este libro, solo escribi ensayos, en los que desarroll explcitamente las premisas filosficas implcitas de La rebelin de Atlas. Uno de esos ensayos, La virtud del egosmo es considerado uno de los manifiestos principales de la corriente filosfica de Rand.

Ayn Rand sostena:

En La virtud del egosmo Rand escribi sobre la vida:

En Derechos del hombre dijo:

En La rebelin de Atlas escribi sobre el trabajo manual, los empresarios y los inventores:

Ayn Rand no se consideraba a s misma como de derechas (tampoco de izquierdas). En innumerables ocasiones Ayn Rand declar I am not a conservative (No soy conservadora), al mismo tiempo que declaraba vehementemente su oposicin a Ronald Reagan. En el espectro poltico usualmente se la ubica en la derecha poltica por su apego a un tipo de individualismo heroico y capitalista.

Desde cierto punto de vista, se la puede considerar como una seguidora del ideal liberal libertario o simplemente liberal. Ella estaba de acuerdo en buscar la maximizacin de los derechos del individuo desde un anlisis liberal individualista; sin embargo, Rand tambin buscaba maximizar lo que consideraba beneficios de la propiedad privada y del sistema capitalista, lo cual se identifica con los conservadores, quienes a su vez son considerados de derecha. No obstante, Ayn Rand denost hasta su muerte a los liberales libertarios, a los que llamaba hippies de derechas.

Algunos puntos de la ideologa de Ayn Rand sugeriran su no adscripcin ideolgica a la derecha conservadora:

Basndose en el principio de que la esfera de la libertad del individuo slo puede autorrealizarse a travs de la propiedad privada, Ayn Rand reconoce en el sistema poltico capitalista la afirmacin de la economa libre y el ideal del autointers personal mediante la cooperacin social en el mercado. Partiendo de esta base miseana, Rand procede a identificar mediante el principio de no agresin al trabajo personal. En esto la doctrina de Ayn Rand es coincidente con lo sostenido por lo que se considera la derecha liberal, por cuanto que las desigualdades no seran estructuralmente impuestas por la sociedad, sino producto de la utilidad desigual de los bienes productivos en el mercado libre, sean estos el capital o el trabajo asalariado. Desasociaba as cualquier relacin necesaria entre poder econmico (defensivo) y poder poltico (agresivo), presentndolos como opuestos naturales. Tambin reinterpret y legitim la desigualdad de oportunidades por no ser dependiente de la cuanta del dinero, sino de su uso productivo en el mercado, idea que desarroll junto a Alan Greenspan en Capitalism: the unknown ideal.

Su filosofa ha sido as apologtica del orden social capitalista puro sin intervencin gubernamental, y por ende el modelo, a la vez tico y utilitario, para muchos grandes empresarios en la bsqueda del xito en los negocios que no dependan de la coercin poltica. La influencia del egosmo individualista racional randiano se puede rastrear hasta la obra de Milton Friedman al respecto de la idea de internalizacin de las externalidades, limitando la responsabilidad corporativa al beneficio de los accionistas, as como en los trabajos de Robert Hessen y Stephen Hicks sobre la tica en los negocios.

Las ideas de Rand sobre esttica giran en torno al concepto de lo que ella llamara realismo romntico, que suele referirse al arte que trata los temas de la volicin y de los valores humanos, reconociendo tambin la importancia de la tcnica artstica y del reconocimiento de la realidad. El realismo romntico plasma frecuentemente a seres humanos heroicos en situaciones de alegra y triunfo vital, con un fondo optimista y una estimacin positiva de la Ciencia y de la Tcnica. A menudo hay referencias ms o menos sutiles a Ayn Rand en estas obras.

Aun habiendo sido utilizado anteriormente, el trmino fue popularizado por Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand defini al realismo romntico como la representacin de las cosas y de los seres humanos como podran ser y deberan ser, tomando estos conceptos de Aristteles.

Esta combinacin est basada en la idea de que los valores heroicos son racionales y realistas, ya que el realismo romntico considera como falsa la dicotoma entre realismo y romanticismo.

Tanto el trabajo literario como el trabajo filosfico de Ayn Rand han sido objeto de innumerables crticas. Tambin se ha criticado su metodologa y su personalidad egocntrica.

La lucha contra el altruismo por parte de Ayn Rand atrajo crticas de orden tico. El famoso escritor estadounidense izquierdista Gore Vidal escribi tratando el tema en 1961:

A partir del momento en que las personas deben vivir en comunidad, dependiendo los unos de los otros, el altruismo es necesario para la supervivencia.

Gore tambin explica el porqu de la popularidad de las ideas de Ayn Rand:

Rand siente una gran afinidad por las personas que se hallan a s mismas perdidas en una sociedad organizada. Son personas renuentes a pagar impuestos, que no soportan al Estado y sus leyes y que sienten remordimientos frente al dolor ajeno pero buscan endurecer sus corazones. A estas personas ella les ofrece una solucin muy atractiva: el altruismo es el origen de todos los males, el inters individual es el nico bien, y si alguien es estpido o incompetente, ese es su problema.

Los aspectos biogrficos de Ayn Rand tambin han sido centro de controversias. En la obra The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics, James Valliant apoya su tesis sobre unas supuestas manipulaciones que Nathaniel Branden y su esposa hicieron a los hechos que tratan sobre la vida de Rand. Segn Valliant, los herederos de Ayn Rand exageraron su carrera y ocultaron anotaciones del diario de la filsofa.

El filsofo Robert Nozick critica la obra de Rand en su libro Socratic puzzles (ISBN 0-674-81654-4). Nozick es liberal libertario, por lo que simpatiza con varias de las conclusiones de Ayn Rand, aunque est en desacuerdo con aspectos fundamentales de su obra. En Socratic puzzles critica el argumento fundacional de la tica de Rand: la proclamacin de que la propia vida es, para cada hombre, el valor definitivo, ya que es el valor que hace posibles a todos los dems. Nozick afirma que Rand no explic por qu alguien no podra preferir racionalmente morir y el no tener ningn valor. De acuerdo con este argumento, la defensa de Rand del egosmo es una petitio principii (peticin de principio), y la solucin de Rand al problema del ser-deber ser de David Hume no es satisfactoria.

Las novelas de Rand, al ser publicadas, se convirtieron desde el principio en superventas, tanto dentro como fuera de los Estados Unidos, debido principalmente al boca a boca entre los lectores. Aunque recibieron algunas crticas especializadas positivas, fueron denostadas por la crtica literaria como terribles o simplemente malas. Los expertos en literatura inglesa y la lite cultural progresista en general han ignorado sus novelas.
Como excepcin, el crtico literario Harold Bloom encontr la obra de Rand lo suficientemente significativa como para incluirla en su antologa crtica American women fiction writers (escritoras estadounidenses de ficcin, 1998).[11]

El movimiento objetivista fundado por Rand y que fue disuelto tras su separacin de Nathaniel Branden en 1968 ha sido acusado de haber sido una secta destructiva, con Rand como la figura de culto.

En 1979, en una entrevista televisiva, Ayn Rand afirm: yo no soy una secta.[12]

Un seguidor ciego es precisamente lo que mi filosofa condena, y lo que yo rechazo. El objetivismo no es una secta mstica.

Cuando sucedi el colapso del instituto NBI (Nathaniel Branden Institute), Ayn Rand declar que ella ni siquiera haba querido tener un movimiento organizado:

Por lo tanto quiero aclarar enfticamente que el objetivismo no es un movimiento organizado y nadie lo debe considerar as.

El trmino randroide (una mezcla de las palabras Rand y androide) se ha utilizado para evocar la imagen de los robots imitadores de Galt producidos por la secta.[15]

Las sugerencias de que la conducta sectaria de los objetivistas comenzaron durante los das del Nathaniel Branden Institute. Con la creciente cobertura de los medios, comenzaron a aparecer artculos que hablaban de la secta de Ayn Rand, y que la comparaban con varios lderes religiosos.[16]

Terry Teachout describi al Nathaniel Branden Institute como una casisecta que giraba en torno a la adoracin de Ayn Rand y de sus hroes de ficcin, una secta que se desintegr cuando Rand se separ de Nathaniel Branden.[17]

En 1968, el psiclogo Albert Ellis, a raz de un debate pblico con Nathaniel Branden, public un libro argumentando que el objetivismo era una religin, cuyas prcticas incluan la condenacin y la demonizacin, el puritanismo sexual, el absolutismo y la divinizacin hacia Ayn Rand y sus hroes de ficcin.[18]

En sus memorias, dice Nathaniel Branden del Colectivo y del Nathaniel Branden Institute que haba un aspecto de secta en nuestro mundo […] ramos un grupo organizado en torno a un lder carismtico, donde cada miembro juzgaba el carcter del otro principalmente sobre la base de la lealtad hacia esa lder y sus ideas.[19]

En 1972, el autor libertario Murray Rothbard comenz a hacer circular de manera privada su ensayo The sociology of the Ayn Rand cult (la sociologa de la secta de Ayn Rand), en la que escribi:

Si las contradicciones internas evidentes de las sectas leninistas las convierten en intrigantes objetos de estudio, ms an lo es la secta de Ayn Rand […] [p]orque que la secta Rand no solo era explcitamente atea, antirreligiosa y aduladora de la Razn, sino que tambin promueve la dependencia servil a un gur en nombre de la independencia; la adoracin y la obediencia hacia un lder en nombre de la individualidad de cada persona; y la emocin ciega y la fe en el gur en nombre de la Razn.[20]

Rothbard tambin escribi que

el espritu gua del movimiento randiano no era la libertad individual sino el poder personal de Ayn Rand y sus principales discpulos.[21]

En 1993, Michael Shermer fundador de The Skeptics Society, escribi sobre este tema el artculo The unlikeliest cult in History (La secta ms improbable de la historia).[22] Shermer argument que el movimiento objetivista mostraba caractersticas de las sectas religiosas, como la veneracin y la infalibilidad del lder; las intenciones ocultas, la explotacin sexual y financiera, y la creencia de que el movimiento ofreca la verdad absoluta y la moral absoluta. Shermer sostuvo que ciertos aspectos de la epistemologa y la tica objetivista promueve conductas sectarias:

{{cita|En el momento en que un grupo se establece como rbitro moral definitivo de las acciones de otras personas sobre todo cuando sus miembros creen que han descubierto patrones absolutos del bien y del mal es el principio del fin de la tolerancia, y por lo tanto de la razn y la racionalidad. Es esta caracterstica ms que cualquier otra la que convierte a una secta, a una religin, a una nacin o a cualquier otro grupo en algo peligroso para la libertad individual. El absolutismo es el mayor defecto del objetivismo de Ayn Rand, la cual es la secta ms improbable de la Historia.[23]

En 1999, Jeff Walker public The Ayn Rand cult (la secta de Ayn Rand). En un pasaje, Walker compar el objetivismo con las prcticas dianticas de la cienciologa, que muchos consideran como una secta destructiva. Segn Walker, ambos son conjuntos de creencias totalitarias que defienden una tica para las masas sobre la base de la supervivencia como un ente racional. Walker contina: La diantica utiliza un razonamiento un tanto similar al de Rand acerca de considerar el cerebro como una mquina. […] Ambos hablan de una mente superior que puede reprogramar el resto de la mente. Walker seala adems que ambas doctrinas pretenden basarse en la ciencia y en la lgica.[24]

El libro de Walker provoc las crticas de los seguidores de Rand. Chris Matthew Sciabarra critic la objetividad y la academicidad de Walker.[25] Mimi Reisel Gladstein escribi que la tesis de Walker es cuestionable ya menudo depende de la insinuacin ms que de la lgica.[26] R.W.Bradford afirm que para los estudiosos el libro es simplemente aburrido.[27]

Las afirmaciones de la calidad sectaria de esta doctrina siguieron en aos ms recientes. En 2004, Thomas Szasz escribi en apoyo de 1972 el ensayo de Rothbard,[28] y en 2006, Albert Ellis public una edicin actualizada de su libro de 1968, donde incluy algunas referencias favorables a Walker.[29] Del mismo modo, Walter Block aunque expres su admiracin por algunas ideas y afirm la fuerte influencia de Rand sobre el libertarismo describi al movimiento objetivista como una diminuta secta implosiva.[30]

Personas que convivieron con Ayn Rand han escrito libros sobre ella en los que mezclan el elogio con la crtica personal.

Estos libros son The passion of Ayn Rand (La pasin de Ayn Rand), ISBN 0-385-24388-X, de Barbara Branden, y My years with Ayn Rand (Mis aos con Ayn Rand), ISBN 0-7879-4513-7, de Nathaniel Branden.

Ambos autores han sido asimismo criticados en el libro de James Valliant The passion of Ayn Rands critics (ISBN 1-930754-67-1).

A blind follower [el nfasis aparece en el original] is precisely what my philosophy condemns and what I reject. Objectivism is not a mystic cult.

Se puede encontrar esta cita en el sitio web

I want, therefore, to make it emphatically clear that Objectivism is not an organized movement and is not to be regarded as such by anyone.

If the glaring inner contradictions of the Leninist cults make them intriguing objects of study, still more so is the Ayn Rand cult… [f]or not only was the Rand cult explicitly atheist, anti-religious, and an extoller of Reason; it also promoted slavish dependence on the guru in the name of independence; adoration and obedience to the leader in the name of every person’s individuality; and blind emotion and faith in the guru in the name of Reason.

[A]s soon as a group sets itself up to be the final moral arbiter of other people’s actions, especially when its members believe they have discovered absolute standards of right and wrong, it is the beginning of the end of tolerance, and thus reason and
rationality. It is this characteristic more than any other that makes a cult, a religion, a nation, or any other group, dangerous to individual freedom. Its absolutism was the biggest flaw in Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, the unlikeliest cult in history.

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Ayn Rand – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

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Ayn Rand Institute – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank in Irvine, California that promotes Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism. It was established in 1985, three years after Rand’s death, by Leonard Peikoff, Rand’s legal heir. Its executive director is Yaron Brook.[2]

ARI’s stated goal is:

. . . to spearhead a cultural renaissance that will reverse the anti-reason, anti-individualism, anti-freedom, anti-capitalist trends in today’s culture. The major battleground in this fight for reason and capitalism is the educational institutionshigh schools and, above all, the universities, where students learn the ideas that shape their lives.[3]

ARI is mainly an educational organization, but also has “outreach programs.” Its various programs include classes on Objectivism and related subjects offered through its Objectivist Academic Center, public lectures, op-ed articles, letters to the editor, competitions for essays about Rand’s novels, materials for Objectivist campus clubs, supplying Rand’s writings to schools and professors, and providing intellectuals for radio and TV interviews.[4]

During her lifetime, Rand helped establish The Foundation for the New Intellectual, to promote Objectivist ideas. The Foundation was dissolved some 15 years after her death, as having been made redundant by the Ayn Rand Institute. Although Rand never intended for Objectivism to become an organized movement, she heartily approved of rational individuals with the same ideas working toward a common goal.[5] Peikoff, her legal heir, was convinced to start the organization after businessman Ed Snider organized a meeting of possible financial supporters in New York in the fall of 1983.[6] Peikoff also agreed to be the first chairman of the organization’s board of directors.[7]

ARI began operations on February 1, 1985, three years after Rand’s death. The first board of directors included Snider and psychologist Edith Packer. Snider was also one of the founding donors for the organization.[7] Its first executive director was Michael Berliner, who was previously the chairman of the Department of Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education at California State University, Northridge.[8] ARI also established a board of governors, which initially included Harry Binswanger, Robert Hessen, Edwin A. Locke, Arthur Mode, George Reisman, Jay Snider, and Mary Ann Sures, with Peter Schwartz as its chairman.[9]M. Northrup Buechner and George Walsh joined the board of advisors shortly thereafter.[10]

ARI’s first two projects were aimed at students. One was developing a network of college clubs to study Objectivism. The other was a college scholarship contest for high-school students based on writing an essay about Rand’s novel The Fountainhead.[10] Later, additional essay contests were added based on Anthem, We the Living and Atlas Shrugged.[11] In 1988 the institute began publishing a newsletter for contributors, called Impact.[12]

In 1989, a philosophical dispute resulted in ARI ending its association with philosopher David Kelley.[13] Board of advisors member George Walsh, who agreed with Kelley, also left.[14] Kelley subsequently founded his own competing institute now known as The Atlas Society, which remains critical of ARI’s stance on loyalty.[15]

In January 2000, Berliner retired as Executive Director, replaced by Yaron Brook, then an assistant professor of finance at Santa Clara University.[2] The institute was originally headquartered in Marina del Rey, California, but in 2002, it moved to larger offices in Irvine, California.[16]

Charity Navigator, which rates charitable and educational organizations to inform potential donors, gives ARI four out of four stars. According to the latest data from Charity Navigator, ARI spends 86.7% of its expenses on programs, 8.6% on fundraising, and 4.6% on administration.[17] As of June 2012[update] the institute’s board of directors[18] consists of Brook; Berliner (co-chair); Arline Mann (co-chair), retired attorney, formerly of Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Carl Barney, CEO of several private colleges; Harry Binswanger, long-time associate of Ayn Rand; Peter LePort, a surgeon in private practice; Tara Smith, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin;[19] and John Allison, CEO of the Cato Institute and former CEO of BB&T.[20]

Peikoff retains a cooperative and influential relationship with ARI.[21] In 2006, he remarked that he approved of the work ARI has done[22] and in November 2010 that the executive director “has done a splendid job.”[23] Peikoff was a featured speaker at ARI summer conferences in 2007 and 2010.[24] In August, 2010, he demanded and received a change to ARI’s board of directors.[25]

ARI runs a variety of programs:

In 2008, ARI opened the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights (“ARC”) in Washington, D.C. to specialize in issues of public policy.[27]

During the current economic crisis, the ARC has been a vocal proponent of the position that government intervention is responsible for the crisis, and that the solution lies not in further government regulation but in moving toward full laissez-faire capitalism.[28][29]

On foreign policy, the ARC advocates American national self-interest, including ending the regimes that sponsor terrorism, rather than the Bush Administration’s policies which they see as timid, halfway measures that only weaken America’s position in the world.[30]

ARI sponsored writers and speakers have promoted a number of specific positions in contemporary political and social controversies.[31]

Since Objectivism advocates atheism, ARI promotes the separation of church and state, and its writers argue that the Religious Right poses a threat to individual rights.[32] They have argued against displaying religious symbols (such as the Ten Commandments) in government facilities[33] and against faith-based initiatives.[34] The institute argues that religion is incompatible with American ideals[35] and opposes the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools.[36]

ARI has taken many controversial positions with respect to the Muslim world. They hold that the motivation for Islamic terrorism comes from their religiosity, not poverty or a reaction to Western policies.[37] They have urged that the US use overwhelming, retaliatory force to “end states who sponsor terrorism”, using whatever means are necessary to end the threat.[38] In his article “Ends States Who Sponsor Terrorism”, which was published as a full page ad in The New York Times, Peikoff wrote, “The choice today is mass death in the United States or mass death in the terrorist nations. Our Commander-In-Chief must decide whether it is his duty to save Americans or the governments who conspire to kill them.” Although some at ARI initially supported the invasion of Iraq, it has criticized how the Iraq War was handled.[39] Since October 2, 2001, the institute has held that Iran should be the primary target in the war against “Islamic totalitarianism”.[38]

ARI is generally supportive of Israel.[40] Of Zionism, executive director of the institute Yaron Brook writes: “Zionism fused a valid concern self-preservation amid a storm of hostility with a toxic premise ethnically based collectivism and religion.”[41]

In response to the Muhammad cartoons controversy, ARI started a Free Speech Campaign in 2006.[42]

ARI is highly critical of environmentalism and animal rights, arguing that they are destructive of human well-being.[43][44]

The institute is
also highly critical of diversity and affirmative action programs, as well as multiculturalism, arguing that they are based on racist premises that ignore the commonality of a shared humanity.[45][46]

ARI supports women’s right to choose abortion,[47] voluntary euthanasia, and assisted suicide.[48]

ARI denounces neoconservatism in general. For example, C. Bradley Thompson wrote an article entitled “The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism”,[49] which was later turned into the book (with Yaron Brook) Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea.[50]

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Ayn Rand Wikipdia

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Un article de Wikipdia, l’encyclopdie libre.

Ayn Rand (prononc [an rnd]), ne Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum (en cyrillique russe: ), est une philosophe[1], scnariste et romancire[2] amricaine d’origine russe, juive athe, ne le 2 fvrier 1905 Saint-Ptersbourg et morte le 6 mars 1982 New York.

Ayn Rand est connue pour sa philosophie rationaliste, proche de celle du mouvement politique libertarien, laquelle elle a donn le nom d’objectivisme. Elle a crit de nombreux essais philosophiques sur des concepts tenant de la pense librale, comme la libert, la justice sociale, la proprit ou l’tat et dont le principal (et l’un des seuls de ses textes traduits en franais, avec La Grve (Atlas Shrugged)), est La Vertu d’gosme (The Virtue of Selfishness en langue originale). Ses contributions principales s’inscrivent dans les domaines de l’thique, de la philosophie politique et de l’pistmologie. Cependant, malgr sa considrable popularit hors du champ acadmique, ses travaux ne sont gnralement pas comments par la plupart des philosophes. Cela peut s’expliquer parce qu’une lecture de ses romans est requise pour discuter les lments de sa philosophie objectiviste, et que les philosophes rechignent la lecture d’ouvrages de fiction[3].

Ayn Rand a galement publi des uvres de fiction telles que La Grve (Atlas Shrugged), La Source vive (The Fountainhead) et Nous, les vivants (We the Living), qui figurent parmi les plus vendues aux tats-Unis. Elle a par ailleurs crit de nombreux scnarios pour le cinma, dont des adaptations de ses propres uvres de fiction.

Ayn Rand est considre comme la thoricienne d’un capitalisme individualiste ainsi que d’un libertarianisme refusant toute forme de coercition et prnant les valeurs de la raison, du mrite et de l’gosme rationnel, son concept central. Figure de l’anti-communisme radical, Ayn Rand prne galement l’indpendance et le laissez-faire face toute forme de collectivisme ou de religion tablis.

De nombreuses personnalits, comme le psychothrapeute Nathaniel Branden, les conomistes Alan Greenspan et M. Northrup Buechner[4], le romancier Terry Goodkind, le prsident Ronald Reagan ou le fondateur de Wikipdia, Jimmy Wales, se rclament de ses conceptions. Ayn Rand a aussi profondment nourri la vision libertarienne dite minarchiste, replaant l’individu au centre de la socit et de l’thique.

Elle avait trouv dans Ludwig von Mises, lui aussi migr aux tats-Unis, le grand thoricien contemporain du laissez-faire qui compltait sa comprhension de l’conomie.

Selon Alain Laurent, un des spcialistes francophones de son uvre, Ayn Rand reprsenterait l’incarnation de la self-made woman immigre, car elle russit cet exploit tout en professant un athisme radical (…) et critiquant violemment l’altruisme au nom de l’gosme rationnel[5]. Ayn Rand fut par ailleurs la cible de nombreuses critiques dont la principale s’attache expliquer qu’en dpit d’une argumentation se voulant rationnelle, elle n’en matrisait pas toujours les raisonnements[6].

Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum nat Saint-Ptersbourg le 2 fvrier 1905 (le 20 janvier du calendrier julien) dans une famille juive agnostique de la classe moyenne, compose de trois enfants dont elle est l’ane[7]. Son pre, Zinovy Zacharovich Rosenbaum, pharmacien, est n Brestlitovsk le 18 novembre 1869 alors que sa mre, Anna Borisovna Kaplan, est ne Saint-Ptersbourg le 15 octobre 1880[8].

Elle s’intresse trs jeune la littrature et au cinma, crivant ds l’ge de 7 ans des romans ou des scnarios. l’ge de 9 ans, elle dcide de devenir crivain. Elle lit notamment Walter Scott et Alexandre Dumas et s’enthousiasme pour le courant romantique. Elle lit avec passion le roman d’aventure La Valle mystrieuse (1915) du romancier franais Maurice Champagne. Son personnage principal, figure de l’homme hroque et vertueux, marque l’imagination d’Alissa. Ce type de personnage se retrouve dans toute son uvre et, en particulier, travers le personnage principal d’Atlas Shrugged, John Galt[9]. Elle dcouvre 13 ans celui qui devient son auteur favori et qu’elle considre comme le plus grand crivain: Victor Hugo. Au collge, elle se montre brillante en mathmatiques; sa carrire universitaire semble alors toute trace. En 1912, sa famille s’installe dans la Perspective Nevski, dans le quartier Znamenskaya. La jeune Alissa y assiste sa premire exposition, consacre aux images de films, en 1913. Le cinma la passionnera en effet toute sa vie.

La ville de Saint-Ptersbourg est depuis longtemps l’un des foyers des troubles rvolutionnaires qui agitent la Russie tsariste. Rand soutient au dbut la rvolution[Quand?] mene par Kerensky mais l’arrive au pouvoir des bolchviques, en octobre 1917, puis la confiscation de la pharmacie de son pre par le gouvernement rvolutionnaire, contraignent sa famille fuir la Russie pour l’Ukraine puis pour la Crime. Les Rosenbaum s’installent Yevpatoria jusqu’ ce que celle-ci soit envahie par les rvolutionnaires en 1921[10]. dater de ce jour Rand nourrit une haine tenace pour les communistes, sentiment qui traverse tous ses crits. Elle brle alors son journal intime, car elle a pris l’habitude d’y consigner des rflexions et des critiques sur les rvolutionnaires.

Le 30 juin 1921, Alissa Rosenbaum est diplme du lyce de Yevpatoria. L’anne suivante, la famille Rosenbaum retourne Petrograd[11]. Alissa, qui a alors 16 ans, entame des tudes d’histoire et de philosophie l’universit de Petrograd et y dcouvre les uvres d’Edmond Rostand, de Friedrich von Schiller, d’Aristote et de Fiodor Dostoevski. Ses tudes lui donnent accs, selon ses propres termes, une culture millnaire travers laquelle elle juge nfaste l’influence des ides communistes en Russie. Ces dernires annes en Union des rpubliques socialistes sovitiques, o elle est oblige d’intgrer la propagande communiste, formeront la base de sa critique des systmes collectivistes.

Le 13 octobre 1924, Alissa sort diplme de l’universit. Elle continue crire et entre l’Institut d’tat des Arts cinmatographiques en 1924[12]. Elle y tudie l’histoire et la politique amricaine et dcouvre aussi le cinma nord-amricain, dont les westerns, mais aussi toute la culture des tats-Unis. Elle devient alors une admiratrice de la socit amricaine et de ses valeurs d’individualisme et d’optimisme. Comprenant qu’elle ne peut raliser son rve d’crire des romans en Union des rpubliques socialistes sovitiques en raison de la censure communiste, elle se rsigne l’ide de quitter le pays pour les tats-Unis[10]. En 1925 elle publie une brochure sur l’actrice de cinma Pola Negri, Moscou et Lningrad, puis en 1926 un petit essai intitul Hollywood: American Movie City Moscou[13]. la fin de l’anne 1926, elle se voit accorder un visa pour rendre visite des proches habitant aux tats-Unis et ce pour une courte priode, ce qui lui permet d’immigrer dans ce pays o elle s’installe pour le reste de sa vie.

Aprs s’tre arrte dans plusieurs villes d’Europe de l’Ouest, dont le port du Havre en France, d’o elle prend un bateau, le De Grasse, Alissa Rosenbaum arrive New York le 19 fvrier 1926. Ses premires impressions devant les gratte-ciels la marquent profondment et inspirent les descriptions de son roman La Source vive. Elle rejoint ensuite Chicago, dans l’Illinois, o elle vit pendant 6 mois et apprend la langue anglaise. Elle commence galement mettre en forme ses ides de romans et de films et dcide de devenir scnariste. Elle se voit accorder une extension de son visa par les autorits sovitiques. Alissa choisit alors de ne pas retourner en URSS et part pour Hollywood o elle devient scnariste sous la directi
on du ralisateur et producteur Cecil B. DeMille, qui s’intresse elle par hasard, alors qu’elle fait le pied de grue devant son studio[14]. Alissa lui explique qu’elle est passionne de cinma amricain et qu’elle arrive de Russie. DeMille travaille alors sur le film The King of Kings et l’emploie comme figurante. La jeune femme y rencontre galement l’acteur Frank O’Connor dont elle dira qu’il tait son visage idal[9]. Ils se marient le 15 avril 1929, et le resteront jusqu’ la mort d’O’Connor, en 1979.

Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum est naturalise amricaine le 13 mars 1931. C’est alors qu’elle change son nom en Ayn Rand, en rfrence selon elle la transcription en cyrillique du nom de sa famille. Une autre explication veut que ce serait en rfrence la machine crire Remington Rand, mais celle-ci n’a t vendue qu’ultrieurement[15]. Elle se montre fire de sa nouvelle nationalit et dclare ainsi en 1974, dans un discours aux lves de l’acadmie militaire de West Point: Je peux dire et il ne s’agit pas d’une banalit patriotique, mais avec une connaissance complte des racines mtaphysiques, pistmologiques, morales, politiques et esthtiques ncessaires que les tats-Unis d’Amrique sont le pays plus grand, le plus noble et, dans ses principes, le seul moral de l’histoire du monde[16].

Ayn Rand travaille trs dur comme lectrice de scnario, pour DeMille, ayant cur de se faire une place dans le monde d’Hollywood[9]. Paralllement, elle crit afin de raliser son rve. Avant de vivre de sa plume, elle occupe divers emplois, notamment la garde-robe de la RKO Radio Pictures[17] jusqu’en 1932, anne o elle russit vendre le scnario de Red Pawn Universal Studios. Son niveau de vie s’amliore alors considrablement, et Rand peut s’acheter une automobile, ce qui est pour elle cette poque le signe d’une russite sociale certaine qui contraste avec ses annes en Union des rpubliques socialistes sovitiques[9]. Le producteur Josef von Sternberg pense donner le premier rle l’actrice Marlene Dietrich mais le thme anti-sovitique tant encore mal considr cette poque, le projet choue[18].

Elle crit ensuite en 1934 les pices de thtre Ideal et Woman on Trial, cette dernire tant joue Hollywood le 22 octobre. La pice Woman on Trial, qui retrace le parcours peu commun de l’industriel et autodidacte sudois Ivar Kreuger, est recompose en 1935 puis produite sous le titre Night of January 16th qui est reprsente d’abord Hollywood puis Broadway le 16 septembre. La pice est originale: l’action consiste en un procs dont le jury, choisi parmi les spectateurs, pouvait dterminer la fin. Deux pilogues sont donc possibles, suivant la dcision du jury populaire.

Le manuscrit de son roman Nous, les vivants (We the Living, partiellement inspir par sa propre exprience) lui demande beaucoup de travail. L’ayant achev en 1933, elle ne parvient cependant le faire publier que le 18 avril 1936, aprs l’avoir fait parvenir de nombreux diteurs. Ce sont les ditions Macmillan pour les tats-Unis et Cassell pour l’Angleterre qui l’ont accept. Elle le considre comme la plus autobiographique de ses uvres de fictions: en effet, le roman dcrit la vie de son hrone sous la domination communiste, sa confrontation avec la violence absurde du rgime et sa fuite pour l’tranger. Cependant, Nous, les vivants ne reoit pas un accueil enthousiaste de la critique amricaine, en partie cause du fait que, dans les annes 1930, priode nomme la dcennie rouge (Red Decade), le communisme tant encore relativement bien considr dans les milieux intellectuels et artistiques amricains[10]. Nanmoins Rand considrait elle-mme Nous, les vivants comme davantage qu’une simple autobiographie: Ce n’est pas une autobiographie proprement dite, l’ouvrage a davantage un sens intellectuel. L’intrigue est invente mais l’arrire-plan non[19].

Ds 1935, Ayn Rand travaille sur son projet principal, la rdaction du roman La Source vive (The Fountainhead), dimension plus philosophique.

En 1938, elle publie en Angleterre le roman dystopique Hymne (Anthem), qui dcrit une socit dans laquelle le collectivisme a triomph. Hymne n’est accept par aucun diteur aux tats-Unis alors que We the Living n’a pas non plus rencontr un grand succs. Stephen Cox, de lObjectivist Center, considre que cela est d lpoque: We the Living fut publi quand la popularit du socialisme russe tait au plus haut parmi les faiseurs d’opinions amricains explique-t-il[20]. En 1939 Ayn Rand reoit les dernires nouvelles de ses parents demeurs en URSS, elle a ainsi dfinitivement coup toute relation avec son pass russe.

En 1940, Rand participe, avec son mari, la campagne prsidentielle amricaine pour le candidat libral Wendell Willkie dans sa section de la ville de New York. Cet activisme lui permet de rencontrer des intellectuels favorables au capitalisme de laissez-faire. Le journaliste du New York Times Henry Hazlitt et sa femme permettent Rand et son mari de rencontrer l’conomiste autrichien Ludwig von Mises qui admire les travaux de Rand, en dpit de diffrences philosophiques[21].

La mme anne, l’adaptation thtrale de We the Living, The Unconquered, par George Abbott, est reprsente Broadway le 13 fvrier. Abbott a nanmoins adouci la dimension critique du roman, le rendant davantage au got du public, notamment en ajoutant des dialogues sentimentaux[9]. Elle connat son premier grand succs avec la publication de La Source vive, le 8 mai 1943, roman qu’elle a mis sept ans crire. Refus par douze diteurs, le manuscrit est finalement accept par la maison d’dition Bobbs-Merrill grce l’insistance d’Archibald Ogden, membre du comit ditorial, qui a menac de dmissionner si l’on ne publiait pas l’ouvrage[22]. Vendu six millions d’exemplaires, le livre devient un succs plantaire, (il s’en vend encore 100000 par an). Adapt au cinma en 1949 par King Vidor la Warner avec Gary Cooper et Patricia Neal dans les rles principaux, le film est distribu en France la mme anne sous le titre Le Rebelle.

Rand commence pouvoir vivre de ses crits. Elle travaille ds lors comme scnariste mi-temps, toujours pour le producteur Hal B. Wallis. Sous sa direction, elle adapte en 1945 le roman Pity My Simplicity de Christopher Massie, nomm aux Oscars sous le titre Love Letters ainsi que You Came Along[23]. Rand travaille ensuite, en aot 1943 un article The Moral Basis of Individualism puis emmnage en Californie pour rdiger le scnario de The Fountainhead.

Elle s’installe donc la Von Sternberg House construite par l’architecte Richard Neutra. Par ailleurs elle rencontre Taliesin East le clbre architecte Frank Lloyd Wright qu’elle admire normment: pour elle Wright fut un innovateur, dfendant larchitecture moderne contre la tradition [24]. Toujours Taliesin East Rand rencontre d’autres figures intellectuelles du moment comme Morrie Ryskind, Janet Gaynor, Gilbert Adrian et Leonard Read. L’architecte devient un fervent admirateur de son roman The Fountainhead; il dessine pour elle une maison qui ne sera toutefois jamais construite. En septembre 1944, Rand crit le scnario de Love Letters. L’anne suivante The Fountainhead est class 6e best-seller de l’anne par le New York Times [25].

Ayn Rand se lie d’amiti avec l’crivaine libertarienne Isabel Paterson (18861961), qui l’initie l’histoire des tats-Unis. Leur amiti cessera par la suite, Rand n’ayant pas apprci le comportement de Paterson lors d’une crmonie Hollywood. Les deux femmes entretiennent alors une abondante correspondance. Le biographe de Paterson, Stephen Cox, explique que les penses des deux femmes se sont mutuellement influences[26]. Ayn Rand considre l’essai d’Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine (1943), comme l’quivalen
t pour les dfenseurs du capitalisme de ce qu’est Le Capital pour les communistes et la Bible pour les chrtiens[27].

Ds 1946, Ayn Rand travaille au manuscrit de son roman La Grve (Atlas Shrugged), tout en assurant un emploi de scnariste pour le producteur Hal B. Wallis. En 1947, en pleine priode du maccarthysme, elle tmoigne charge dans les procs des Dix d’Hollywood, qui dbouchent sur la constitution des listes noires[28], devant le United States House Un-American Activities Committee qui identifie les personnalits pro-communistes amricaines[29]. Ayn Rand est l’une des premires intellectuelles amricaines fustiger la propagande communiste dans le milieu du cinma. Pour ce faire, elle rdige Screen Guide for Americans qui recommande treize principes face au communisme et rejoint la MPA (la Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of the American Ideals) la mme anne[9]. Anthem est par ailleurs publi aux tats-Unis, en juillet 1946.

En 1949 The Fountainhead est adapt l’cran, le 23 juin. Ayn Rand dcide en 1951, en compagnie de son mari, de quitter Hollywood pour emmnager New York (au 120 East de la 34e rue), sa ville prfre en raison de ses gratte-ciel qui la fascinent, et o elle travaille plein temps sur son nouveau roman, La Grve (Atlas Shrugged), qu’elle n’achve que six ans plus tard. La rdaction de ce long roman provoque une dpression nanmoins vite surmonte[30].

En 1950, Ayn Rand et quelques proches crent un groupe qui prend par provocation le nom de Le Collectif, form par Alan Greenspan, futur prsident de la Fed et le psychologue Nathanael Blumenthal (qui deviendra Nathaniel Branden, l’auteur de The Psychology of Self-Esteem), futur amant de Rand, sa femme, Barbara Branden, et Leonard Peikoff, profondment influenc par The Fountainhead. Avec ce groupe, qui multiplie les confrences publiques, Rand compte diffuser sa philosophie et ses crits. Le cercle d’amis prend ainsi un rle de plus en plus important, aidant Ayn Rand diffuser son systme philosophique, auquel elle donne le nom d’objectivisme. Sous l’impulsion de Branden, le groupe fonde le Nathaniel Branden Institute (N.B.I), qui dite un priodique, The Objectivist, actif de 1962 1965. Le priodique devient ensuite The Objectivist Newsletter, de 1966 1971. Puis le groupe dite, de 1971 1976, une lettre d’information, The Ayn Rand Letter[note 1]. Ayn Rand y publie des articles, qui forment la base pour ces essais philosophiques, et en premier lieu l’ouvrage The Virtue of Selfishness qui dveloppe sa thorie du point de vue thique. La compilation Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966) regroupe ses tudes conomiques et politiques alors que Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1971) prsente sa thorie des concepts, sa contribution la plus importante la philosophie. Rand crit galement une tude esthtique, The Romantic Manifesto (1969).

En 1957 est publie sa principale uvre, La Grve (Atlas Shrugged), aux ditions Random House, roman de prs de 1500 pages qui met en scne des entrepreneurs qui dcident de cesser d’tre les esclaves d’un tatisme pr-totalitaire qui ravage la socit l’image du New Deal de Roosevelt. Le tirage initial est de 100000 exemplaires et le livre devient rapidement un best-seller mondial puisque son tirage tait chaque anne de 200000 units jusqu’ l’lection du prsident Obama, qui a conduit en vendre un million d’exemplaires en deux ans et demi[31]. Dans une tude de 1991 de la Bibliothque du Congrs amricain, le livre tait cit par les Amricains comme celui qui les avait le plus influencs, aprs la Bible[32]. Le roman mle divers thmes et sujets de rflexion, passant de l’pistmologie la mtaphysique, suivant une action classique, centre autour du combat d’un mystrieux personnage, John Galt, qui n’apparat qu’ la fin. Il marque aussi la fin de l’activit romanesque de Rand, et le dbut de ses crits philosophiques[33].

En 1958, Rand anime des sminaires d’criture et, le 6 mars, elle fait sa premire confrence au Queens College de New York. Elle prend la parole pour la premire fois la tlvision amricaine, sur le plateau de Mike Wallace en 1959[34]. Elle prsente son essai Faith and Force: Destroyers of the Modern World l’universit Yale le 17 fvrier 1960. Le rythme de ses lectures publiques mais galement universitaires s’acclre. En 1961, Rand publie For the New Intellectual le 24 mars et fait une confrence au Ford Hall Forum, The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age le 26 mars. Le Ford Hall Forum devient le lieu privilgi de ses confrences qui ont lieu de 1962 1976. Elle ralise galement des allocutions et des ateliers (workshops) au Nathaniel Branden Institute qui ouvre en janvier 1962. Le mme mois le premier numro de The Objectivist Newsletter est publi.

La popularit de Rand s’accrot galement. De plus en plus sollicite par les journaux, elle signe, le 17 juin 1961, sa premire intervention dans la Weekly column du Los Angeles Times qu’elle animera quelques annes durant. Ses confrences sont toutes enregistres et diffuses aux tats-Unis et dans d’autres pays. Ayn Rand enseigne par ailleurs dans de nombreuses universits partir de 1960, Yale, Princeton et Columbia. Elle enseigne galement Harvard, l’universit du Wisconsin, l’universit Johns-Hopkins et au MIT. Durant ses dernires annes, Ayn Rand prend galement position sur de grandes questions de socit, s’opposant l’engagement amricain dans la Seconde Guerre mondiale, et soutenant Isral pendant la guerre du Kippour. Elle s’exprime sur tous les thmes de socit o sa morale objectiviste peut trancher: l’galit des sexes et l’homosexualit, le racisme et le travail.

Le 2 octobre 1963 Rand reoit un honorary doctorate de l’universit Lewis et Clark et publie en dcembre 1964 The Virtue of Selfishness (La Vertu d’gosme), l’essai qui prsente le mieux sa pense thique et philosophique. En juillet 1966, elle crit une autre tude, en plusieurs parties, publie dans le priodique The Objectivist intitul Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology[35] destine exposer les fondements de sa philosophie de la connaissance.

La relation sentimentale de Rand avec le psychothrapeute Nathaniel Branden s’intensifie dans les annes 1960. Branden publie galement divers textes psychologiques dans la revue d’Ayn Rand. En 1968, le couple illgitime rompt, en partie cause du fait que chacun tait mari[36].

Ds mars 1969, Ayn Rand donne des cours d’criture, pour les essais cette fois, des membres du Nathaniel Branden Institute. Le 11 octobre, elle anime des ateliers autour de l’pistmologie objectiviste. Le 16 juillet, elle assiste comme V.I.P. au lancement de la fuse Apollo 11. Cet vnement lui inspire deux essais[note 2] vantant le progrs technique permis par le capitalisme: La signification fondamentale du triomphe d’Apollo 11 n’est pas politique ni mme philosophique, elle est davantage pistmologique et morale[37] dit-elle cette occasion qui la marque beaucoup. Rand se lie par ailleurs d’amiti avec l’astronaute Michael Collins[38] ainsi qu’avec l’crivain Mickey Spillane et le critique musical Deems Taylor avec qui elle entretient une longue correspondance[39].

La sant d’Ayn Rand se dtriore au dbut des annes 1970. Elle est opre en 1974 pour un cancer du poumon car c’est une grande fumeuse. La fin de la relation avec Branden signe la fin de facto du Nathaniel Branden Institute et certains amis objectivistes s’loignent d’elle. Rand publie dans The Objectivist une critique de Nathaniel Branden, qu’elle juge avoir t malhonnte envers elle et d’avoir eu un comportement irrationnel dans sa vie personnelle[40]. Le 6 mars 1974 Rand fait une confrence West Point intitule Philosophy: Who Needs It, ouvrage parachevant sa philosophie
de la ralit et de l’homme[41]. Le 14 avril, elle reoit sa sur, Nora Drobysheva, qui a pu obtenir une autorisation de quitter l’URSS. Rand tente de lui proposer son aide pour qu’elle immigre aux tats-Unis, mais sa sur refuse et rentre en URSS aprs quelques jours.

En janvier 1976, Rand publie son dernier article dans le recueil The Ayn Rand Letter, The Energy Crisis qui traite des enjeux gopolitiques. Le 27 juillet, elle est invite la Maison-Blanche pour diner avec l’homme politique libral australien Malcolm Fraser, futur premier ministre d’Australie: c’est le signe d’une reconnaissance nationale. Le 10 avril 1977, elle est invite au Ford Hall Forum pour un dner en son honneur, avec tous les membres du Nathaniel Branden Institute.

En septembre 1979, La Grve (Atlas Shrugged) est scnaris pour un projet de srie tlvise puis, en avril, son dernier essai, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, est publi par la New American Library. Le 9 novembre, son mari Frank OConnor dcde et, ds lors les activits d’Ayn Rand au sein du mouvement objectiviste se rarfient. Sa sant dcline par ailleurs. L’un de ses derniers projets est une adaptation tlvise de La Grve (Atlas Shrugged) ainsi qu’un roman, To Lorne Dieterling, dont elle ne laisse que des brouillons prparatoires.

En 1981 Rand anime ses dernires confrences: au Ford Hall Forum avec The Age of Mediocrity, le 26 avril et The Sanction of the Victims La Nouvelle-Orlans le 21 novembre. Elle travaille aux dernires pages du scnario tlvis de La Grve (Atlas Shrugged), qu’elle achve en janvier. Malade, elle recourt l’aide sociale pour couvrir ses dpenses de sant, sous le faux-nom d’Ann O’Connor, contredisant quelque peu ses principes[42]. Elle meurt d’une insuffisance cardiaque le 6 mars 1982 chez elle, New York.

De nombreux compagnons objectivistes se rendent son enterrement, dont Alan Greenspan et David Kelley, qui lit lors des obsques le pome If, de Rudyard Kipling[43]. Rand est enterre au cimetire de Kensico, Valhalla, New York. Dans ses dernires volonts, elle dsigne Leonard Peikoff comme hritier de sa proprit intellectuelle et le reconnat galement comme le meilleur spcialiste de sa philosophie[44]. Peikoff fonde le Ayn Rand Institute pour propager ses ides.

Ayn Rand a, au fur et mesure de ses crits, constitu un mouvement philosophique intitul l’objectivisme[45] reposant sur le postulat selon lequel ma philosophie conoit essentiellement l’Homme comme un tre hroque dont l’thique de vie est la poursuite de son propre bonheur, la ralisation de soi son activit la plus noble, et la Raison son seul absolu.[46]. En 1976, Rand explique que sa contribution principale la philosophie est sa thorie et [s]es concepts, [s]on thique, et [s]a dcouverte que, en politique, le mal – la violation des droits – consiste en un commencement de pouvoir et de force[47].

Rejetant la foi considre comme oppose la raison, Rand condamne toute forme de mysticisme, y compris les religions, et prne le ralisme philosophique[48]. Rand met en avant ce qu’elle nomme l’gosme rationnel, ou gosme de l’intrt personnel, seul principe moral digne d’tre suivi par opposition l’altruisme, de mentalit collectiviste. L’individu est selon elle la base de toute morale, il se doit d’exister pour lui-mme crit-elle en 1962 et de ne jamais se sacrifier pour les autres, ni sacrifier les autres pour lui-mme[49]. En 1976, Rand explique que sa contribution principale la philosophie est sa thorie et [s]es concepts, [s]on thique, et [s]a dcouverte que, en politique, le mal la violation des droits consiste en un commencement de pouvoir et de force[47].

Rand pose que le seul systme moral pertinent est celui du laissez-faire, le capitalisme. Elle est donc profondment individualiste et s’oppose tout systme collectiviste, en premier lieu au communisme. Elle critique de manire vhmente autant certains libraux et conservateurs amricains, comme les partisans du rgime sovitique[note 3].

D’inspiration aristotlicienne, la philosophie d’Ayn Rand se veut profondment rationaliste et objectiviste, les motions de l’homme se devant d’tre soumises sa raison, faute de quoi, l’homme baserait son existence sur des chimres issues de ses reprsentations du monde et non sur les faits. Elle ne renie pas pour autant la sphre motionnelle mais considre que l’homme qui se perd dans ses motions essaie de fuir la ralit au lieu de s’y adapter. Ayn Rand a ainsi dfini la psycho-pistmologie, socle de son systme objectiviste, comme l’tude des processus cognitifs humains vus partir de l’interaction entre l’esprit conscient et les fonctions automatiques de l’inconscient[50]. Harry Binswanger a continu ses travaux sur ce point. La vie de lhomme est considre comme le fondement de toute valeur, et sa propre vie est le but thique de tout individu. Le passage dit de l’allocution de John Galt (John Galt speaking), personnage principal du livre La Grve (Atlas Shrugged), reprsente la quintessence de sa pense propos de l’individu[51].

Ayn Rand a t influence par de nombreux philosophes comme Aristote en premier lieu[52] (et mme nul autre que lui, ses propres dires[53]), mais aussi John Locke, Thomas d’Aquin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Stirner, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Ludwig von Mises ou Isabel Paterson. Nanmoins, Douglas B. Rasmussen dcrit son approche de l’enseignement d’Aristote comme tant extrmement imprcise, alors que sa connaissance de son systme thique tait pour sa part trs mince[54].

L’influence de Nietzsche est, selon Ronald E. Merrill, auteur de The Ideas of Ayn Rand, relle[55], notamment travers la notion de surhomme qui se retrouve dans tous ses crits. Ayn Rand dit partager avec Friedrich Nietzsche le culte de l’ego humain, dont The Fountainhead veut rendre compte. C’est pourquoi elle apposa en en-tte du manuscrit de cette uvre une citation de Par del le bien et le mal exprimant, selon elle, ce culte. Elle dcida nanmoins de retirer cette citation de l’dition finale de l’ouvrage du fait de son dsaccord avec la philosophie de Nietzsche, dont elle rejetait le mysticisme et l’irrationalisme[56].

Pour elle, au sein de l’histoire de la philosophie, seuls trois auteurs, dont elle-mme, ont marqu l’thique, qu’elle nomme les trois A, pour Aristote, Thomas d’Aquin et Ayn Rand[57]. Parmi les philosophes, Rand prouve un ddain particulier pour Emmanuel Kant, qu’elle dit tre un monstre et le plus mauvais homme de l’histoire car il prne un systme thique totalement tranger l’intrt personnel. Elle critique la position de Kant, qui veut expliquer que la raison ne peut connatre la ralit en soi: pour Rand, sa philosophie est l’exacte oppos des positions kantiennes[58]. Pour les philosophes objectivistes George Walsh[59] et Fred Seddon[60], Rand n’a pas su interprter l’apport de Kant; pour le premier elle exagre l’ambition du philosophe allemand. D’autres critiques condamnent sa vision du kantisme comme tant simplement ignorante et indigne[61]. Il reste que la plupart des philosophes ralistes postrieurs Kant en ont autant, sinon plus, son gard[62].

Ayn Rand est surtout connue pour ses fictions, principalement Atlas Shrugged, vritable best-seller, et The Fountainhead. Les personnages de ses romans sont ainsi devenus des rfrences cls dans la culture amricaine comme John Galt, Dagny Taggart ou Kira Argounova[63]. Rand se dpeint elle-mme comme une romantique raliste, et toute son uvre reflte cette double tendance[64].

Atlas Shrugged est un roman de plus de 1000 pages qui fit d’Ayn Rand une romancire populaire, ds sa publication en 1957. En 2007, soit cinquante ans aprs la premire publication du roman, prs de 185000 exemplaires furent vendus d’a
prs le Ayn Rand Institute[65]. Selon un sondage ralis par Freestar Media/Zogby, 8% des Amricains avaient lu Atlas Shrugged en 2007[66]. Une traduction franaise du roman est parue en octobre 2011 sous le titre La Grve, qui tait le premier auquel Ayn Rand songeait (The Strike) lorsqu’elle crivait son roman[67].

D’aprs l’auteur elle-mme, Atlas Shrugged a pour thme le rle de l’esprit humain dans la socit[68]. L’intrigue met donc en scne des hommes de l’esprit (men of the mind: scientifiques indpendants, entrepreneurs honntes, artistes individualistes) qui disparaissent mystrieusement, provoquant crises et catastrophes, dans un avenir (pour les annes 1950) proche qui n’en ressemble pas moins la catastrophe des annes 1930. Il s’agit d’un roman ides, par lequel Rand dveloppe sa conception de la vrit, de la libert et de l’gosme rationnel, tout en prsentant les mfaits de l’tatisme qu’elle prsente comme le produit du subjectivisme moral et intellectuel. Le titre Atlas Shrugged se rfre au titan de la mythologie grecque Atlas qui tient le monde sur ses paules, symbole du rle irremplaable des hommes de l’esprit, entrepreneurs et crateurs de valeurs, dans la socit. Ce roman dcrit galement la manire dont l’intervention de l’tat dtruit la production et la rgulation sociale[69], lui opposant la libre initiative et la responsabilit personnelle.

Le personnage principal du roman, John Galt, est l’archtype du hros vertueux et entreprenant. La premire phrase du rcit, Who is John Galt? a marqu la culture populaire amricaine, de mme que son allocution, long passage de 62 pages[70], qui est un morceau majeur de la philosophie, car il expose les racines profondes de l’idologie tatiste, qui sont chercher en premier lieu, et dans l’ordre, dans les domaines de la mtaphysique, de l’pistmologie et enfin de l’thique. explique le traducteur suisse, Pierre-Louis Boitel[71].

Publi en 1943 le roman La Source vive connut un grand succs et fut ensuite adapt au cinma par King Vidor en 1949 sous le titre Le Rebelle. Le titre du livre fait rfrence une dclaration d’Ayn Rand: l’ego de l’Homme est la source vive du progrs humain[72]. Refus par de nombreux diteurs car non commercial, le livre est pourtant parmi les plus vendus au monde au sein de l’uvre de Rand[73].

Le rcit dcrit la vie d’un architecte individualiste, Howard Roark, dans le New-York des annes 1920 qui ne parvient pas faire accepter ses crations. Par lui, Rand dveloppe les thmes contenus dans sa doctrine objectiviste, savoir l’intgrit, l’gosme rationnel, la vertu d’indpendance et la crativit. Chaque chapitre est dvolu un personnage, emblme d’une valeur randienne. Ayn Rand y esquisse deux philosophies antagonistes, travers les deux personnages en opposition. Le premier, incarn par Roark, est lhomme volontariste et libre, qui reprsente lgoste absolu, et dot de libert de jugement alors que Keating est l’archtype du parasite social. The Fountainhead peut, selon Mimi Reisel Gladstein, tre lu comme une version moderne d’une pice mdivale de moralit[74].

Les romans de Rand furent l’objet de vives critiques lors de leur publication[75]. Selon Jeff Britting, la popularit des crits de Rand doit beaucoup au bouche oreille[76]. En effet, les milieux universitaires et littraires ont longtemps ignor les romans de Rand. Le philosophe John Lewis dclare cependant, dans sa Literary Encyclopedia de 2001, que Rand a crit les uvres de fiction les plus intellectuellement brillantes de sa gnration[77].

Les premiers comptes-rendus de la critique apparaissent avec sa pice de thtre Night of January 16th. Ses autres premiers crits, We the Living et Anthem ont reu une faible attention des critiques, seul son best-seller The Fountainhead mobilisa vritablement la presse et en particulier le New York Times[78], journal que Rand apprciait grandement[79]. C’est surtout son roman La Grve (Atlas Shrugged) qui reut la plus grande critique, principalement ngative. En particulier, l’ancien espion sovitique repenti Whittaker Chambers, dans la National Review, qualifia l’ouvrage d’immature et de remarquablement stupide, ajoutant qu’on ne pouvait l’appeler un roman qu’en dvaluant le mot[80].

Les travaux de Rand veillrent peu d’intrt dans les milieux acadmiques et universitaires[81]. La premire tude sur son uvre, publie en 1971, tait celle de William F. O’Neill, With Charity Toward None: An Analysis of Ayn Rand’s Philosophy[82]. L’auteur fut vivement critiqu par ses pairs, qui lui reprochrent d’tre de parti-pris pour avoir pris Rand et ses crits au srieux. La revue The Personalist publia aprs sa mort de nombreux articles et le philosophe Robert Nozick y rdigea l’article On the Randian Argument[83].

Comme le souligne Alain Laurent, la popularit d’Ayn Rand a t telle qu’aux tats-Unis, presque tout le monde l’a lue et a eu son moment Ayn Rand comme l’a confi Hillary Clinton. Aprs sa mort, elle est demeure bien vivante dans le paysage intellectuel et politique amricain, influenant le libralisme classique comme le Cato Institute[84].

L’essai The Virtue of Selfishness, traduit en franais sous le titre La Vertu d’gosme synthtise la pense thique d’Ayn Rand[85]. Publi en 1964, il s’agit de ses principaux textes issus des confrences. Annonc par ses prcdents crits, la doctrine du vivre pour soi est le sujet de ce livre qui expose la plupart des axiomes objectivistes et en premier lieu le principe selon lequel l’ego est la seule rfrence thique: Aucune loi, aucun parti ne pourra jamais tuer cette chose en l’homme qui sait dire je[86]. Ainsi rsume Pierre Lemieux, La nature de l’homme lui impose un code d’thique rationnel (…) Les droits de l’homme se rsument dans le droit pour un individu d’utiliser sa raison, l’exclusion de toute coercition, pour mener sa propre vie. Raison et libert vont de pair pour Ayn Rand[87].

Le capitalisme est ainsi le seul systme o les hommes productifs sont libres d’agir et de cooprer en vertu de leurs liberts. Contrairement une critique rpandue, Rand n’est pas anarchiste, ni anarcho-capitaliste, car elle considre que l’anarchie en tant que concept politique, est une abstraction vague et nave[88]. Nanmoins Rand est souvent considre comme une thoricienne anarchiste, notamment par Ulrike Heider qui la surnomme the queen of reason[89]. Par ailleurs elle ne prne pas une socit sans tat. Elle propose un systme alternatif o l’tat est limit une activit judiciaire, via le monopole du contrle des contrats entre citoyens. Selon Alain Laurent, Rand est minarchiste, c’est une adepte du limited government. L’tat doit ainsi seulement protger l’individu de la violence physique, protger son droit la vie, la libert, la proprit et la poursuite de son propre bonheur. Ces objectifs concident exactement avec les principes des Founding Fathers, les pres fondateurs des tats-Unis[90]. L’thique de Rand renoue avec le concept aristotlicien de valeur qui est ainsi pour elle ce pourquoi l’on entreprend une action pour acqurir et (ou) conserver quelque chose[91].

La mthode de Rand se fonde sur l’objectivit dfinie comme Une mthode pour valuer la connaissance base sur sa conformit ou non la ralit[93]. La premire partie de ce livre est consacre dmontrer en quoi la vie, et l’individu, est essentiellement rationnel, et que son existence doit tre objective, c’est–dire conforme la ralit. Le rationnel est donc le moyen de survie, et, par extension, l’thique rgulant son comportement et ses choix[94]. Rand s’oppose aux doctrines philosophiques et politiques qui posent que l’thique est irrationnelle et donc que la raison n’est pas inhrente l’homme, justifiant par l un altruisme au service de l
a collectivit. Ces doctrines justifient le recours la force, caractristique de l’tat. La conduite thique est donc celle de la rflexion et du travail productif[95]. Selon Alain Laurent, dans Le Libralisme amricain, De ces prmisses [Rand] dduit une thique anti-sacrificielle et anti-collectiviste affirmant la lgitimit exclusive de la poursuite du self-interest cal sur le droit individuel de proprit, l’change librement consenti et le principe de non-initiation de la force[96].

Ayn Rand condamnait l’engagement amricain dans la Premire et dans la Seconde Guerre mondiale[97], puis dans la guerre de Core, considrant que la seule justification de la guerre doit tre le principe de lgitime dfense de soi-mme, et non des autres.

Elle s’est tout aussi publiquement oppose la guerre du Vit Nam en dclarant: Si vous voulez voir le summum ultime, suicidaire, de l’altruisme l’chelle internationale, observez la guerre du Vit Nam, une guerre o chaque soldat amricain meurt sans raison d’aucune sorte[98].

Rand s’opposait donc toute politique d’intervention et d’ingrence, mais au seul nom de la souverainet des tats respectueux du Droit: pour elle, les tats “tyranniques” et les conglomrats de “sauvages”, n’avaient aucun Droit. Ainsi, elle interprtait la guerre du Kippour de 1973 comme partant d’une attaque contre un tat respectueux des droits individuels, et elle soutint en consquence Isral, dclarant: Les Arabes sont une des cultures les moins dveloppes. Ils sont typiquement nomades. Leur culture est primitive et ils prouvent du ressentiment contre Isral car c’est la seule tte de pont de la science moderne et de la civilisation sur leur continent. Quand vous avez des hommes civiliss qui combattent des sauvages, vous soutenez les hommes civiliss, peu importe qui ils sont.[99].

Elle avait une vision tranche, voire expditive, de la politique internationale. Dans The Foreign Policy of a Mixed Economy, Rand condamnait le principe de l’aide publique entre les tats, qui nourrit les guerres conomiques et abaisse les liberts humaines, contribuant balkaniser les socits, notamment en entretenant le principe de l’ethnicit, selon le titre de son article Global Balkanization. Pour Ayn Rand, l’irrationnalisme (dont la ralisation historique ultime est le communisme, thse qu’elle dveloppe dans son article Capitalism vs. Communism) se propage, conduisant un nouveau fascisme, celui d’un culte du consensus[100] et du tout-tat, toujours plus prdateur et dpensier. Rand y voit par ailleurs la cause de la volont de certains tats, comme les tats-Unis, de conduire des guerres d’ingrence qui sont injustes (The Wreckage of the Consensus) parce qu’on les mne suivant les principes de l’altruisme, ce qui outrepasse leurs fonctions lgitimes et viole les droits de leurs citoyens.

Plusieurs des ouvrages de Rand prsentent les femmes et les hommes comme gaux sur le plan intellectuel. Toutefois, elle a, plusieurs reprises, affirm que les diffrences physiologiques entre les deux sexes conduisaient des diffrences psychologiques fondamentales, sources d’une diffrenciation naturellement sexue des rles sociaux. Il s’agit l d’un des postulats de ce qu’elle nomme la psycho-pistmologie, la science qui examine le rapport du psychisme humain la ralit. Rand affirma par exemple que, si les femmes sont comptentes pour occuper la fonction de Prsidente, aucune femme rationnelle ne devrait chercher atteindre cette position; elle expliqua plus tard qu’une telle fonction serait psychologiquement perturbante pour une femme[101]. Rand pense ainsi que l’essence de la fminit est la vnration le dsir d’admiration de l’homme, qu’une femme idale doit vnrer les hommes, et qu’un homme idal est le plus haut symbole de l’humanit[102]. Le sexe est pour elle l’expression de l’estime de soi[103].

Ayn Rand s’est exprime publiquement une unique occasion sur le thme de l’homosexualit, lors d’une confrence au Ford Hall Forum de 1968. En 1971, elle publie un recueil d’essais, The New Left, o elle attaque les mouvements fministes et gay, puisque la discrimination positive impose par l’tat est par dfinition injuste, et affirme que l’homosexualit est immorale en soi. En dpit de cette critique, elle estime que la loi ne doit pas intervenir dans une relation entre deux adultes consentants. Dans des conversations tenues en 1980 avec le philosophe Harry Binswanger, elle nuancera sa position, revenant sur le terme d’immoral sans retirer sa critique[104]. Rand dfendait par ailleurs le droit des entreprises de discriminer sur la base de l’orientation sexuelle, de la race ou de n’importe quel autre critre: c’est par dfinition du Droit de proprit que le refus d’une personne ou d’une organisation de traiter avec une autre ne viole aucun droit, quand la raison en serait irrationnelle, raciste ou homophobe[105].

Dans ses articles Racism et Balkanisation globale, Rand estime que le racisme est la forme la plus basse, la plus crment primitive de collectivisme[106]. Que cette notion implique qu’un homme soit jug non sur ses propres actions mais sur celles d’un collectif d’anctres apparaissait intolrable dans son systme de pense[107] car le racisme, a fortiori institu par l’tat, nie les deux aspects de la vie de l’homme: sa raison et sa moralit pour y substituer un dterminisme gntique. Elle tait oppose toute intervention tatique ce sujet, estimant qu’ partir du moment o ce n’est pas l’tat qui l’impose, le racisme n’est pas un problme de Droit mais une question morale, et ne peut tre combattu que par des moyens privs, tels que le boycott conomique ou l’ostracisme social.[108].

La culture n’est pas le produit anonyme de masses indiffrencies, mais la somme des ralisations intellectuelles d’hommes individuels[110] selon Ayn Rand qui fait de la culture et du progrs scientifique des domaines thiques. Cependant, dans son article Our Cultural Value-Deprivation (1966), elle note la perte de valeur dans la culture et notamment la valeur individualiste. Son essai The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Our Age (1961)[111] a pour but de condamner une culture de masse mondialise, celle du XXesicle qui refuse l’hritage libral du sicle prcdent.

En matire d’cologie et d’environnement, Rand y voit une manipulation des gouvernements, destine rduire les liberts et faire primer l’motion sur la raison. Critiquant l’environnementalisme, dans Against Environnementalist, elle considre que l’cologie est un retour du religieux et de l’irrationnel, alors que seul le progrs technique peut amliorer la condition humaine[112].

Adepte du minarchisme et d’un libertarianisme anti-tat, Rand prconise un tat minimal. Elle oppose l’tatisme l’intrt bien compris des individus. Selon elle l’tat, qu’elle qualifie d’absolu lorsqu’il ambitionne de rgenter toute la sphre sociale et conomique, ne fait que violer le Droit qu’il est l pour faire respecter L’tatisme a toujours t le corollaire politique du collectivisme[113] explique-t-elle, sa dmesure culminant dans le communisme.

Ses jugements sur l’tatisme ont suscit l’admiration dans tous les mouvements libraux. La formule L’tat absolu n’est simplement qu’une forme institutionnalise du banditisme, quel que soit le gang particulier qui prend le pouvoir[113] rsume au mieux sa pense. Cependant, Rand n’est pas pour l’anarchisme, qui prne la disparition de l’tat. Elle considre que celui-ci doit exister, pour veiller ce que les citoyens jouissent de toute leur libert de choix et de raison: Le gouvernement agit seulement comme un agent de police qui protge l’homme des droits, il utilise la force physique uniquement et seulement titre de reprsailles contre ceux qui prennent l’initiative de son utilisation, tels
que des criminels ou des envahisseurs trangers.[114]. En d’autres termes, l’tat doit veiller la conservation des droits individuels (la libert et la proprit), dont la source est la nature de l’homme car: la seule justification valable de l’existence d’un tat [est d’] assurer les Droits des hommes en protgeant ceux-ci de la violence physique[115].

Seul le systme du laissez-faire capitaliste peut garantir les liberts individuelles. La socit doit veiller ce qu’une complte sparation de l’tat et l’conomie existe, de la mme manire et pour les mmes raisons qu’existe la sparation de l’tat et l’glise [116].

Les crits d’Ayn Rand continuent d’tre largement vendus et lus, travers le monde, avec plus de 25 millions d’ouvrages vendus en 2007, et prs de 800000 de plus chaque anne selon le Ayn Rand Institute[117], y compris dans le milieu scolaire[118]. Selon une tude conduite par la Bibliothque du Congrs amricain et par Book of the Month Club (le club du livre du mois) dans les annes 1990, La Grve (Atlas Shrugged) est le livre le plus influent aprs la Bible aux tats-Unis[10].

Une certaine branche du mouvement fministe amricain se rclame des travaux de Rand. Dans Feminist interpretations of Ayn Rand[119] Mimi Reisel Gladstein et Chais Matthew Sciabarra analysent la nature de cette influence et expliquent mme en quoi la philosophe peut tre qualifie de fministe avant l’heure[120].

Ayn Rand a eu galement une profonde influence sur des penseurs et des personnalits contemporains tels John Hospers (le premier candidat du parti libertarien aux lections prsidentielles amricaines de 1972), George Hamilton Smith (pdagogue et auteur libertarien), le philosophe et pistmologue Allan Gotthelf, les philosophes et universitaires Robert Mayhew (auteur de Essays on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) et Tara Smith, l’conomiste George Reisman, le psychologue comme Edwin A. Locke, crateur de la goal-setting theory, l’historien Robert Hessen, et les politologues Charles Murray (crateur de l’American Enterprise Institute) et Peter Schwartz[121]. Selon Pierre Lemieux, Rand, en dpit de son aversion pour l’anarchie, est galement un modle des mouvements anarcho-capitalistes[87]. Les thoriciens anarchistes et minarchistes Murray Rothbard et Robert Nozick reconnaissent l’apport de Rand dans le champ thique surtout. L’crivain Mario Vargas Llosa est un de ses admirateurs[122]. Alain Laurent, citant une confidence d’Alan Greenspan explique mme que le prsident russe Vladimir Poutine non seulement connat ses crits mais de plus aime en discuter[123]>.

L’ancien prsident de la Fed, Alan Greenspan, a beaucoup t influenc[124] par Rand et dclara son propos: Elle m’a montr que le capitalisme n’est pas seulement efficace, mais aussi moral[125]. Ayn Rand a aussi eu une influence sur James Clavell, George Reisman, Alan Greenspan, Terry Goodkind et le professeur de marketing Jerry Kirkpatrick. L’ancien prsident des tats-Unis, Ronald Reagan se dit lui-mme un admirateur de Rand, dans sa correspondance prive[126]. Le dessinateur de comics Steve Ditko est un lecteur de Rand[127]. Parmi d’autres personnalits publiques, l’actrice Angelina Jolie et son mari et acteur Brad Pitt, Frank Miller, Vince Vaughn ou Ron Paul, ancien candidat la Prsidence amricaine, se disent influencs par l’objectivisme d’Ayn Rand.

Jimmy Wales, le fondateur de l’encyclopdie libre Wikipdia, professe son admiration pour Ayn Rand: ayant lu The Fountainhead, il se qualifie lui-mme de libertarien: La catgorie de personnes dans laquelle je peux le mieux me considrer serait celle des libertariens[128] dit-il. La pense de Rand colore tout ce que je fais et tout ce que je pense[129]. Wales a ainsi anim, de 1992 1996 une liste de diffusion lectronique nomme Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy. Il donna une interview qui fit la premire page du numro de juin 2007 du magazine libertarien Reason[130].

Un groupe d’entrepreneurs dcids fonder une cryptarchie en 1998, baptise Laissez Faire City d’abord en Indonsie, sur l’le de Bintan, puis au Costa Rica voulaient mettre en application les directives objectivistes. Le projet choua faute de trouver un territoire libre et en dehors de tout contrle tatique[132].

Ds ses dbuts Ayn Rand a runi autour d’elle une gnration de penseurs considrs comme objectivistes[133]. Plusieurs d’entre eux continuent, aprs sa mort, promouvoir sa philosophie, aux tats-Unis et dans le monde.

En 1985, Leonard Peikoff, en qui Rand avait totale confiance pour reprsenter sa philosophie, fonde le Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), qui a pour but de faire connatre la pense de Rand aux jeunes gnrations, de soutenir et dvelopper ses ides, et de promouvoir les principes de la raison, de l’intrt priv rationnel, des droits individuels et du capitalisme du laissez-faire le plus largement possible. En 1989, David Kelley cre quant lui lInstitute for Objectivist Studies, devenu The Atlas Society, et qui s’intresse davantage la dimension philosophique et universitaire des travaux d’Ayn Rand. En 2000, l’historien John McCaskey organise lAnthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship, qui offre des bourses et des rcompenses pour des crits universitaires lis l’objectivisme pour les universits de Pittsburgh et du Texas Austin. L’association amricaine Rebirth of Reason fonde en 2005 par Joseph Rowlands et qui sige Santa Clara, en Californie regroupe la plupart des continuateurs de l’objectivisme[134].

En France, Alain Laurent, philosophe et essayiste, a fond avec Jos Luis Goyena une Ayn Rand French Society. La Ayn Rand French Society organise des confrences pour prsenter la pense librale et ralise des articles, tous publis dans le priodique numrique Le Nouvel 1dividualiste[135].

Jim Powell, du Cato Institute, considre Ayn Rand comme l’une des trois plus importantes femmes du mouvement libertarien moderne amricain, aux cts de Rose Wilder Lane et d’Isabel Paterson[136]. Alain Laurent parle lui des Founding Mothers (les mres fondatrices) du no-libralisme[137]. Pourtant, Rand a toujours refus d’tre considre comme une thoricienne du mouvement libertarien.

Le mouvement philosophique pro-technologique dit de l’extropianisme, ainsi que celui du transhumanisme, reconnat dans les concepts d’gosme et de productivit de Rand des valeurs ontologiques fondatrices. Dans ses Principles of Extropy, le fondateur de ce courant de pense, Max More dfinit l’optimisme pratique (practical optimism), l’auto-transformation (self-transformation), ainsi que l’auto-direction (self-direction) en rfrence aux considrations de l’Objectivisme; les parallles tant en effet nombreux[138]. L’Objectivisme tant une philosophie qui vante le progrs scientifique et technique, la manire du scientisme, des courants technophiles comme celui dit du Neo-Tech et qui a pour but llimination du mysticisme de la pense humaine, se rclament no-Objectiviste

La doctrine de l’gosme radical et de l’individualisme d’Ayn Rand a t rcupre par un certain nombre de personnalits sectaires; ainsi, Rand est l’un des principaux auteurs cits dans la Bible de Satan d’Anton Szandor LaVey, lequel explique que sa religion est uniquement la philosophie d’Ayn Rand laquelle a t ajoute des crmonials et des rituels[139],[140].

Les crits et la philosophie d’Ayn Rand ont t la cible de diverses critiques, tenant soit sa personnalit, soit son systme d’ides, soit son style littraire.

La contestation de l’altruisme de la part d’Ayn Rand a d’abord attir des critiques d’ordre thique. Par exemple, l’crivain Gore Vidal formule ainsi en 1961: Ds lors que nous devons vivre ensemble, dpendants les uns des
autres, l’altruisme est ncessaire la survie. Il explique la popularit d’Ayn Rand en ces termes: Elle a un grand attrait pour les gens simples, perdus dans une socit organise, rticents payer des impts, n’aimant pas l’tat providence, qui se sentent coupables face la souffrance des autres mais voudraient durcir leur cur. Elle leur propose une prescription allchante: l’altruisme est source de tous les maux, l’intrt individuel est le seul bien, et si vous tes stupide ou incomptent, c’est votre problme. [141].

La prsentation de la vie d’Ayn Rand est elle-mme sujet controverse. Dans The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics[142], James Valliant axe son tude sur les manipulations biographiques possibles faites par Nathaniel Branden et sa femme de la vie de la philosophe aprs sa mort. Pour Valliant, les hritiers de Rand ont embelli son parcours et dissimul certaines notes de son journal[143].

L’anarcho-capitaliste Murray Rothbard, dans The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult (1972), aprs avoir soutenu Rand[144], dcrit les rouages de la socit objectiviste, la comparant une secte: non seulement la secte dAyn Rand tait explicitement athe, anti-religieuse, non seulement elle glorifiait la Raison, mais elle professait une dpendance de type matre-esclave envers le gourou au nom de lindpendance, une adoration et une obissance au chef au nom de lindividualit de chacun et une croyance aveugle dans le gourou au nom de la Raison[145]. Les critiques universitaires et politiques anti-libertariennes sont nombreuses[146]. Le clbre psychologue amricain Albert Ellis prsente le mouvement randien comme une religion dans son article Is Objectivism A Religion?[147](1968).

D’autres considrent que le raisonnement philosophique de Rand est sophistique, dtournant le concept de rationalit, tel Scott Ryan dans Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality: A Critique of Ayn Rand’s Epistemology qui s’attaque, lui, aux fondements pistmologiques de la pense randienne, considre comme une pseudo-philosophie[148].

La pense de Rand continue gagner des dfenseurs, en dpit de la critique continuelle la qualifiant de mal construite et peu mthodique[149]. Son style est ainsi dcrit, mme au sein de ses partisans, comme tant littraire, hyperbolique et motionnel[150]. Le philosophe Jack Wheeler note la grandiloquence incessante et la dcharge continue de haine des crits de Rand, en dpit de cela, il voit son systme thique comme le plus achev et le plus fcond des tudes contemporaines[151]. Enfin, le populaire et satirique The Philosophical Lexicon ralis par les philosophes Daniel Dennett et Asbjrn Steglich-Petersen, dfinit le rand comme une tirade nerve cause lorsque l’on considre tort un dsaccord d’ordre philosophique comme une attaque personnelle et/ou comme la preuve d’une innommable corruption morale. “Lorsque j’ai remis en question sa seconde affirmation, il s’est lanc dans un rand”[152].

De nombreux dessins anims amricains font rfrence Rand. Un pisode de Futurama[Lequel?] imagine Rand dans le futur alors qu’elle vit dans les gouts.Dans l’pisode Le Charmeur de poules de South Park parle d’Atlas Shrugged comme d’un morceau de dchet [153]. alors que de multiples rfrences sont faites dans Les Simpson, particulirement dans l’pisode Manucure pour 4 femmes o une allusion critique est faite au livre The Fountainhead.

Des jeux tlviss font galement rfrence Rand, Jeopardy! mais aussi des sries dramatiques, Gilmore Girls (2000) et Mad Men (2007), ou des missions comiques (The Colbert Report…)[154].

Le groupe de rock canadien Rush, dans l’album 2112 fait rfrence au monde dcrit dans Anthem. En littrature, l’crivain objectiviste Kay Nolte Smith prsente un roman clef, Elegy for a Soprano inspir par le groupe du Collectif avec Rand et Branden. Le roman de William F. Buckley, Getting it Right fait galement allusion Rand. Le jeu vido BioShock utilise des lments de l’action du livre Atlas Shrugged.

Le visage de Rand apparat sur un timbre cre le 22 avril 1999 New York par le United States Postal Service[155].

Whoisjohngalt est un code dans l’extension Frozen throne de Warcraft 3 pour obtenir de faon rapide l’ensemble des amliorations disponibles.

Du vivant d’Ayn Rand

titre original: The Virtue of Selfishness (1964), prface d’Alain Laurent, traduction de Marc Meunier.

Premire dition en 1966

En collaboration avec Peter Schwartz.

Sous la direction de Michael S. Berliner, introduction de Leonard Peikoff

Premire dition en 1969.

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Ayn Rand Wikipdia

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