Sunday, October 25, 2009

Are the End Times Here?

The November issue of Harvard Magazine includes a biographical sketch of Ayn Rand:
Rand’s early writing reflected her belief in individualism and commitment to free-market capitalism, developed during her years under Soviet rule. By 1957, when she published her third novel, Atlas Shrugged, she had codified and extended her ideas into a system she called Objectivism, which elevated selfishness to a virtue. Rand now understood herself as a philosopher as much as a novelist. In 1961 she published her first work of nonfiction, For the New Intellectual, and one of her young acolytes, Nathaniel Branden, began offering courses in Objectivist philosophy in New York.

The problem was that few of Rand’s contemporaries accorded her philosophy any respect. Atlas Shrugged was panned by critics and hated by academics, who detested both her politics and her romantic writing style. Some professors automatically failed any student who wrote about Rand; others published articles warning of her terrible influence on youth.
Some professors automatically failed any student who wrote about Rand!? That's a damning admission of close mindedness from a lofty pinnacle of the ivory tower.

The Harvard piece is a bit snarky, but not overly so. For a criticism of her philosophy, I recommend Dr. Ross's page on Ayn Rand, Anti-Communism, and the Left.


rtaylortitle said...

Personally, I feel anyone from Harvard has a strike against them. Emotionalism and elitism seem to rule there and in most cases appears to be passed onto its graduates.
Intellectualism? Not Harvard.

dsm said...

rtaylortitle, I have to disagree. I know some really great, conservative Harvard grads that have dodged the typical elitism and emotionalism to which you refer. They exist, but they remain in the shadows often because success in business, law, medicine, whatever doesn't *require* the distraction of a conflict with the Ivory Tower.