Conventional wisdom would have you believe that women are inherently caring, compassionate and altruistic individuals. There are, however, exceptions to every rule and the late author and philosopher Ayn Rand is this exception. She is characterized by undying hatred for government, most people and the very idea of human kindness and compassion.This schlock authoress, famous for “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”, might have faded into history if not for the appeal of her “Objectivism” philosophy to the current crop of Conservatives. “Objectivism” justifies selfishness as a virtue, taxation is immoral, emotion is irrelevant and altruistic gestures are a disguise for nefarious goals. The appeal of this philosophy to Conservatives is clear, giving authority to eliminating taxes on the wealthy and cutting aid to any of the needy (Rand’s “moochers”) in our society.
Ayn Rand’s bitterness is probably a result of traumas experienced when she was a child in Russia during the Bolshevik revolution in the early 1900’s. While professing selfishness she willing accepted help from friends and relatives that allowed her to immigrate to the United States. After being married to Frank O’Connor, she eventually forced him to move to New York, a place he hated. She subsequently sat him down and announced that she would be having an affair with her intellectual soul mate, Nathaniel Branden. Eventually he abandoned her for a younger woman.
Because of the uncritical followers of Rand’s philosophy, such as Paul Ryan, we are and will continue to be victims of this misguided vision of the world. The irony of her life is exemplified by disbelief in the dangers of tobacco. She was a prolific smoker that needed, by the age of 69, surgery for lung cancer, paid for partly by Medicare and her Social Security income. The siren of independence was saved by the collective philosophies she loathed. Biographers that have examined her life and concluded that she brought devastation upon those around her and ruin upon herself. We must armor ourselves with knowledge of her distorted ideas and use them to refute the rhetoric of the Conservatives that want to attack our social programs.