Monday, January 12, 2009

More Ayn Rand

A few weeks ago I wondered aloud here why the thick novels of Ayn Rand continue to be read by large numbers of seemingly sophisticated San Francisco twenty-somethings. And I asked why so many youngsters who loudly profess otherwise-progressive values can tolerate the merciless right-wing political vision endorsed by this woman's writings.

Today her name jumped off the page at me out of the new issue of the London Review of Books. And I was gratified to see that John Lanchester had been wondering the same thing:

about RaOne of the hottest philosophical topics on the internet is Ayn Rand. Her 'objectivist' philosophy, positivistic and materialistic and focused on the need to get society out of the way of the genius so that he can get on with his geniusness, is popular with a broad spectrum of alienated semi-young men tapping away at computer screens and dreaming of world domination. Complicating the picture is the fact that she was also the main intellectual influence on her close friend and protege Alan Greenspan, author of the recent monetary boom we were all enjoying so much until it destroyed the world economy. The only thing which isn't ridiculous about Ayn Rand and her 'objectivism' is the number of people who take her seriously.