Blogs > Liberty and Power > Isabel Paterson on Ayn Rand's Fear of Traffic

Jun 15, 2006 10:57 am

Isabel Paterson on Ayn Rand's Fear of Traffic

I am working my way through Isabel Paterson's column,"Turns With a Bookworm," in The New York Herald Tribune Weekly Books Review, and came across this nugget. Perhaps it has appeared elsewhere but I have never seen it:

"Oh, we might as well answer a perennial question about Ayn Rand-yes, she looks exactly like her photographs; smooth black hair, round eyes that look black and aren't, neat figure and just that turn of the head and direct gaze and natural simplicity of manner.....She likes cats, architecture, New York, movies and above all, ideas....She is afraid of traffic because she was hit by a taxi once; and the way she shows it is to stand a minute at the crossing, viewing the stream of vehicles with alarm, seize the hand of her escort with a gesture of feminine terror, and then march across the street, hauling her protector after her."
Isabel M. Paterson,"Turns With a Bookworm," New York Herald Tribune Weekly Book Review 22, September 23, 1945, 26.

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Roderick T. Long - 6/21/2006

I believe it's in Britting's Rand biography.

Steve Jackson - 6/18/2006

Mr. Bolton,

There are people with PhDs in philosophy who consider Rand to be one of the greatest philosophers ever. I think they tend to exaggerate Rand's ability as a philosopher and overlook the fact that most of what Rand said wasn't all that original. At the same time, she did have some intersting things to say.

Stephen Cox - 6/16/2006

I'm glad David Beito quoted this passage from Paterson. I included the taxi part in my biography of Pat ("The Woman and the Dynamo," Transaction Publishers, 2004--please buy it; it's good), but not the rest. I think it's charming, as Rand herself often was. I myself am afraid of birds, but I can still understand the difference between transubstantiation and consubstantiation.

Mark Brady - 6/15/2006

I seem to remember that another member of your seminar faculty, Craig Yirush, is strongly sympathetic to Ayn Rand. Or at least he was when he participated as a graduate student at an IHS seminar in 1993.

Steven Horwitz - 6/15/2006

That should be "and Rand knew a lot..."

Steven Horwitz - 6/15/2006

What Aeon said. I'm actually at an IHS Liberty and Society seminar this week and it has had more Rand-enriched content than any I've ever been to. The presence of David Mayer and Neera Bhadwar doing law and philosophy respectively is part of that. Both are, of course, real live professional university professor/scholars who take Rand seriously. And David Kelley spoke last night. A serious and thoughtful man is he as well.

and knew a lot about those subjects, so it's not hard to take her seriously. And you can take her seriously, but still be critical. Here's my recent effort in that direction:

You know, I'm coming to believe that admirers of Rand may be America's most perscuted minority. ;)

Aeon J. Skoble - 6/15/2006

You're unlikely to meet _any_ "professed Randroids," since "randroid" is a term of derision. Did you mean you've never met any people who admire Rand but who also know something about philosophy or economics or political theory? Check our masthead again.

Craig J. Bolton - 6/15/2006

Sort of makes you wonder how someone with the paranoia, drug problem and phobias of Rand could become a goddess for so many "philosophic" people, doesn't it? Of course, I am yet to meet a professed Randroid, outside of some eccentric academics, who actually knows anything about philosophy or economics or political theory.