Blogs > Liberty and Power > New Biography of Ayn Rand

Jan 27, 2005 4:10 pm

New Biography of Ayn Rand

For our Randian Cadre here at the Blog, here is a review of the new biography of Ayn Rand.

When I read her novels, I always wondered how her heroines, Dominique Francone & Dagny Taggert, in her two major novels, could be so stupid as to take hundreds of pages to grasp what most of the"good" people, even if minor characters, gathered rather quickly about our stalwart heroes. And, how could the heroes have tolerated such obtuseness! Must have been great lays.

I recall attending a seminar in Dallas with a student, about 1963, when Barbara Branden was holding forth on a tape about how AR had rediscovered Aristotle for us. I didn't know that since the late Middle Ages, he had been lost. For those with dualistic, black and white worlds, she is a great reenforcer, and never mind the complexity of Corporate Empire, its really Capitalism, stupid!

I do thank AR for her play about The Night of January 16th, since that is my birthday!

Go, Randroids, go!

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Sheldon Richman - 1/28/2005

Great book Chris!

William Marina - 1/27/2005

I know the feeling! About that same year I read up to page 109 of "The Year of the French," then on-and-off over the years read parts of it trying to work back to that page. I never made it!

William Marina - 1/27/2005

I actually like some of the old girl's work, I just never understood some of the "Culties" I have met over the years. Maybe I'll take a "rational walk" with Frank on that day.

William Marina - 1/27/2005

Hi Sheldon,
And, here I thought we were only related intellectually!

M.D. Fulwiler - 1/27/2005

Before I read this new book, I'll have to finish Atlas Shrugged, which I started reading in 1982. :-)

Chris Matthew Sciabarra - 1/27/2005

Hey, a belated happy birthday to all the January 16th babies! :)

Since I'm a one-man promotions department, I thought I'd at least mention my own intellectual "biography" and theoretical reconstruction of Rand's work, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, which shows that there is a lot more dialectical subtlety to Rand than one might get from her advocacy of "dualistic, black and white worlds..." Indeed, she spends much time attacking all sorts of dualities: mind-body, fact-value, morality-prudence, theory-practice, reason-emotion, and so on... while also attacking all sorts of "false alternatives," that is, dualisms united by a common false premise: rationalism-empiricism, subjectivism-intrinsicism (her term for "classical objectivism"), materialism-idealism, conservatism-liberalism, fascism-communism, and so on...

And, as the Randian Cadre has argued here, she sure did recognize much of the complexity of what she called the "New Fascism." Of course, you can't count on all of her followers to actually grasp the complexity of that analysis, but it exists nonetheless.

Anyway, many more happy returns, Bill! Next week, I'll be wishing Ayn Rand a Happy Centenary. :)

Sheldon Richman - 1/27/2005

January 16 was my father's birthday, and it's my younger daughter's birthday too. I like that play.