Ayn Rand centennial

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ayn Rand. As a Christian and a traditionalist, I am obviously not an ideological Randian in any sense. I am repelled by her distorted philosophy, which I’ve described as Marxism turned inside out. I am, however, a big, though highly selective (and I underscore highly selective), admirer of her novels. While The Fountainhead is far better written and more satisfactory as a literary work, it is Atlas Shrugged that has exerted a continual pull on my imagination, especially starting about ten years ago when, after not having looked at the book in many years, I delved into it and discovered to my amazement how prophetic it was of our contemporary crisis. The key to the interest is Rand’s epic dramatization of the self-destruction of an entire society due to irrationalism and collectivism, and the struggle of her protaganists simultaneously to save the society and to understand the nature of what is happening to it. The climax comes when they realize that the system they are trying to save is not just misguided, but is inherently evil and parasitic, and that they, by continuing to try to keep it afloat, are complicit in the evil.

That central drama of Atlas Shrugged is our drama as well, and various aspects of it can be seen in many of the discussions at VFR. Certainly I feel it as a drama and a conflict in my life. We seek to defend America, but there are many indications that in defending it, we are only supporting a system that is now so far gone in leftism that it can’t be saved, and, in any case, certainly doesn’t deserve to be defended. For myself, I have resolved this conflict by means of my “Traditionalist’s Credo.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 02, 2005 07:22 PM | Send

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