Rand also got attention because of her anti-Soviet views. She and her prosperous Russian family had managed to get out of the U. Nothing the Soviets did could possibly be any good; when they launched Sputnik, the first earth satellite, Rand insisted it had to be a hoax -- and of course the joke was on her. One or two of my friends loved Atlas Shrugged , which I tried and failed to get into. So for me Rand and Objectivism were just part of the right-wing background noise of the era, along with the John Birch Society and William F.
Buckley's National Review. All were mildly scandalous because of their extreme views. But they were trivial compared to the segregationists and mainstream red-baiters who ran the U. Still, Rand refused to go away. She popped up on TV, she published new books, and her followers published new books about her. Until her death in she was a presence; Objectivism -- and Objectivists -- survived her, and clearly crossed into Canada.
Alberta's Wildrose Party leader leader Danielle Smith and Vancouver's lululemon founder Chip Wilson are among high profile Canadians who pay homage to Rand's teachings today.
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Gary Weiss's new book argues that Objectivism has not just survived, but flourished. Its followers have infiltrated the Tea Party movement, which in turn is a force in the U. Congress and the Republican Party. Worse yet, he claims, Objectivism long had an agent in place on the commanding heights of the U. Weiss makes his case with some plausibility. A veteran business journalist, covering what he calls "the greed beat," he knows what's been going on in banking and finance.
He writes personally and fluently, describing his efforts to learn not just about Rand but also about her "nation" -- the legions of teenagers, activists, bloggers, bankers, and ordinary folks who accept part or all of her philosophy even when it seems against their own interests. He even describes the enjoyment he gained from re-reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The Ayn Rand Nation that Weiss encounters comes across as a pretty thoughtful and likeable crowd, with diverse views. For many of them, teenage exposure to her novels was a life-changing experience.
Some went on to study her nonfiction articles and books. Most recognize some of the contradictions in Objectivism, though Rand insisted such contradictions are impossible. You will find that one of them is wrong.
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Some of his sources go back to the beginnings of Objectivism, and their recollections portray the movement as a cult -- or even as a kind of parody of Soviet communism. Its early members agreed with her in all things, or were expelled and shunned. Nathaniel Branden, the number-two Objectivist after Rand herself, was expelled after he stopped sleeping with her.
Like s communists despising mere socialists, Objectivists rejected libertarians and other right-wingers for years. The movement suffered a schism in the late s, something like the split between Stalinists and Trotskyites, over whether to start talking with libertarians. But they find libertarians are now acceptable "fellow travelers. Weiss does a good job of letting his sources speak for themselves, though he clearly disagrees with them. He portrays a genuine culture, full of people who have found some contentment and purpose in Objectivism. That again echoes the culture of most extremist parties and other fringe groups.
But he also cautions us that this is not just a fringe group. Objectivists have a lot of money -- some of which they've earned in business, and much of which goes to support the movement. They also have the ongoing impact of Rand's book sales. The Ayn Rand Institute late last year reported that total English-language sales of her books in were , In the first half of , Atlas Shrugged alone sold , copies including ebooks.
Fifty-five years after its first appearance, Atlas Shrugged currently ranks on Amazon.
By comparison, Weiss's book ranks , on Amazon. Weiss spends a sizable part of the book dealing with Alan Greenspan's career, first as a young economist drawn to Rand in the early s, and then as an increasingly powerful figure in government that climaxed in his years as the head of the Federal Reserve -- where, Weiss says, Greenspan effectively discouraged any efforts to regulate an increasingly wild banking industry. He argues that Greenspan always clung to his Randian views despite the contradiction of serving in government , and that those views helped to precipitate the crash of Greenspan certainly emerges as a slippery apparatchik in Weiss's portrait, though much of the evidence is circumstantial.
But Weiss shows a lot of very clear connections between Objectivism and the rise of the Tea Party, both at the grassroots level and in the U. Senate and House of Representatives. Rand's ideas have effectively taken over the Republican Party, and we can see them in any number of budget cuts and public-service layoffs at the state level. The Objectivists have their eye on us as well. In a publication of the Atlas Society, Bradley Doucet published a long analysis of Stephen Harper as a "radical for free-market capitalism" who has drifted deplorably into the mainstream:.
But this is not reason to despair. We need to remember that in the grand scheme of things, these are early days. Conservative cabinet member Rona Ambrose has reportedly expressed support for Objectivism, and Rob Anders is said to be a former Objectivist. Wildrose's Danielle Smith has praised Ayn Rand's "celebration of entrepreneurship.
And Vancouver's own lululemon athletica has put "Who is John Galt? The yoga wear maker's website explains that company founder "Chip Wilson first read this book when he was 18 years old working away from home. ARI is generally supportive of Israel. ARI is highly critical of environmentalism and animal rights , arguing that they are destructive to human well-being. ARI supports women's right to choose abortion ,  voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide.
ARI denounces neoconservatism in general. For example, C. Funding details as of FYE September From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject , potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. Please help improve it by replacing them with more appropriate citations to reliable, independent, third-party sources.
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Tax ID no. Objectivism Rational egoism Individualism Capitalism Romantic realism. Related topics. Objectivism and homosexuality Objectivism and libertarianism Objectivism's rejection of the primitive Randian hero. Program revenues 4. Investment returns and other revenues 1.
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