Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Centenary of Ayn Rand's Birthday

Tony Flood writes:

You and I agree that Ayn Rand was a hack, but that view, if still dominant, is not as securely so as it once was. Today is her 100th birthday, and here is an example of the tributes you will find (if you care to look): Ayn Rand's Contribution to the Cause of Freedom by Roderick T. Long

In my opinion, scholars like Long and Chris Matthew Sciabarra succeed only in demonstrating that Rand is an interesting cultural figure and writer with a wide following. Of course, one could say that about L. Ron Hubbard. Subtract "the vagaries of her personality" (Sciabarra) from the expression of her thought, and there is little philosophical substance that others didn't develop more fruitfully and rigorously.

My Rand page now has links to your two excellent blog posts on Rand. If you've written others on her, please let me know, as I would probably like to link to them as well.

BV: Thanks, Tony. I'm glad you liked the Rand critiques. (Links on my sidebar.) They are a little rough, being first-drafts, but basically correct, I think. One thing I will say in Rand's favor: In the 20th century, she has brought more people to philosophy than Immanuel Kant, let alone John Rawls. I also admire her very much in the way I admire Arnold Schwarzenegger, all the while taking a dim view of (extreme) body building and action flicks. Both came to the USA, mastered our difficult language, and made it in their own way by their own efforts. They understood the promise and the greatness of America, and did it their way.

Happy Birthday, Ayn Rand!

UPDATE: Here is another post on Rand in which I respond to a reader.