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Ayn Rand’s life & ideas | Ayn Rand, Objectivism | The Atlas …

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Ayn Rand is Americas most controversial individualist. She was a bold woman who produced brilliant worksfusing fiction and philosophy. Her best-selling novels, like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, have sold millions of copies and continue to influence independent thinkers and celebrities the world over, from Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales to Angelina Jolie and Hugh Hefner.

Rand cut a striking figure, with her long-stemmed cigarette holder and intense gaze. Known for her fearless denunciations of irrationalism, Rand issued blistering critiques of powerful leaders, from the Pope to President Nixon. She could not be pigeon-holed as Right or Left, although she was known for her scathing attacks on Communism and all forms of collectivism.

She penned philosophical non-fiction works of such originality and power that she was credited by a small group of stunned intellectuals as having single-handedly solved an ancient philosophical puzzle. Yet the elite of her day refused to accept her as a legitimate philosopher. She derided them and their ideas; they returned the favor.

The new philosophy which she founded through her books andessays is called Objectivism. It is a philosophy that celebrates the power and potential of the individual, and reveals the principles necessary for developing a flourishing

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Who Is Ayn Rand? – The Objective Standard

Ayn Rand (19051982) was an American novelist and philosopher, and the creator of Objectivism, which she called a philosophy for living on earth.

Rands most widely read novels are The Fountainhead, a story about an independent and uncompromising architect; and Atlas Shrugged, a story about the role of the mind in human life and about what happens to the world when the thinkers and producers mysteriously disappear. Her most popular nonfiction books are The Virtue of Selfishness, a series of essays about the foundations and principles of the morality of self-interest; and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, a series of essays about what capitalism is and why it is the only moral social system.

Rand was born in Russia, where she attended grade school and university; studied history, philosophy, and screenwriting; and witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution and the birth of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1925, she left the burgeoning communist state, telling Soviet authorities she was going for a brief visit with relatives in America, and never returned.

She soon made her way to Hollywood, where she worked as a screenwriter, married actor Frank OConnor, and wrote her first novel, We The Living. She then moved to New York City, where she wrote Anthem (a novelette), The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, numerous articles and essays, and several nonfiction books in which she defined and elaborated the principles of Objectivism.

Rands staunch advocacy of reason (as against faith and whim), self-interest (as against self-sacrifice), individualism and individual rights (as against collectivism and group rights), and capitalism (as against all forms of statism) make her both the most controversial and most important philosopher of the 20th century.

Describing Objectivism, Rand wrote: My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

For a good biography of Rand, see Jeffery Brittings Ayn Rand or Scott McConnells 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand. For a brief presentation of the principles of Objectivism, see What is Objectivism? For the application of these principles to cultural and political issues of the day, subscribe to The Objective Standard, the preeminent source for commentary from an Objectivist perspective.

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Welcome to AynRand.org | AynRand.org

AynRand.org is the official website of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), the source for information on the life, writings and work of novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, ARI offers educational experiences based on Ayn Rands books and ideas for a variety of audiences, including students, educators, policymakers and lifelong learners. ARI also engages in research and advocacy efforts, applying Rands ideas to current issues and seeking to promote her philosophical principles of reason, rational self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism.

ARI is composed of a dedicated Board of Directors and an energetic staff of more than 55 people. We invite you to explore how Ayn Rand viewed the world and to consider the distinctive insights offered by ARIs thought leaders today.

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Ayn Rand | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica.com

Ayn Rand, original name Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, (born February 2, 1905, St. Petersburg, Russiadied March 6, 1982, New York, New York, U.S.), Russian-born American writer whose commercially successful novels promoting individualism and laissez-faire capitalism were influential among conservatives and libertarians and popular among generations of young people in the United States from the mid-20th century.

Her father, Zinovy Rosenbaum, was a prosperous pharmacist. After being tutored at home, Alissa Rosenbaum, the eldest of three children, was enrolled in a progressive school, where she excelled academically but was socially isolated. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, her fathers shop was confiscated by communist authorities, an event she deeply resented. As a student at Leningrad State University, she studied history and became acquainted with the works of Plato and Aristotle. After graduating in 1924, she enrolled in the State Institute for Cinematography, hoping to become a screenwriter.

The arrival of a letter from cousins in Chicago gave her an opportunity to leave the country on the pretext of gaining expertise that she could apply in the Soviet film industry. Upon her arrival in the United States in 1926, she changed her name to Ayn Rand. (The first name, which rhymes with pine, was inspired by the name of a Finnish writer, whom she never identified, and the surname she described as an abbreviation of Rosenbaum.) After six months in Chicago she moved to Hollywood, where a fortuitous encounter with the producer Cecil B. DeMille led to work as a movie extra and eventually to a job as a screenwriter. In 1929 she married the actor Frank OConnor. Soon hired as a filing clerk in the wardrobe department of RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she rose to head of the department within a year, meanwhile writing stories, plays, and film scenarios in her spare time. She became an American citizen in 1931.

Rands first successful play, Night of January 16th (1933; originally titled Penthouse Legend), was a paean to individualism in the form of a courtroom drama. In 1934 she and OConnor moved to New York City so that she could oversee the plays production on Broadway. That year she also wrote Ideal, about a self-centred film star on the run from the law, first as a novel and then as a play. However, she shelved both versions. The play was not produced until 1989, and the novel was not published until 2015. Her first published novel, We the Living (1936), was a romantic tragedy in which Soviet totalitarianism epitomized the inherent evils of collectivism, which she understood as the subordination of individual interests to those of the state. A subsequent novella, Anthem (1938), portrayed a future collectivist dystopia in which the concept of the self and even the word I have been lost.

Rand spent more than seven years working on her first major work, The Fountainhead (1943), the story of a handsome architectural genius whose individualism and integrity are evinced in his principled dedication to his own happiness. The hero, Howard Roark, blows up a public housing project he had designed after it is altered against his wishes by government bureaucrats. On trial for his crime, he delivers a lengthy speech in his own defense in which he argues for individualism over collectivism and egoism over altruism (the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self). The jury votes unanimously to acquit him. Despite generally bad reviews, the book attracted readers through word of mouth and eventually became a best seller. Rand sold it to Warner Brothers studio and wrote the screenplay for the film, which was released in 1949.

Having returned to Los Angeles with OConnor to work on the script for The Fountainhead, Rand signed a contract to work six months a year as a screenwriter for the independent producer Hal Wallis. In 1945 she began sketches for her next novel, Atlas Shrugged (1957; film part 1, 2011, part 2, 2012, part 3, 2014), which is generally considered her masterpiece. The book depicts a future United States on the verge of economic collapse after years of collectivist misrule, under which productive and creative citizens (primarily industrialists, scientists, and artists) have been exploited to benefit an undeserving population of moochers and incompetents. The hero, John Galt, a handsome and supremely self-interested physicist and inventor, leads a band of elite producers and creators in a strike designed to deprive the economy of their leadership and thereby force the government to respect their economic freedom. From their redoubt in Colorado, Galts Gulch, they watch as the national economy and the collectivist social system are destroyed. As the elite emerge from the Gulch in the novels final scene, Galt raises his hand over the desolate earth andtrace[s] in space the sign of the dollar.

Atlas Shrugged was notable for making explicit the philosophical assumptions that underlay The Fountainhead, which Rand described as only an overture to the later work. In an appendix to Atlas Shrugged, Rand described her systematic philosophy, which she called objectivism, as in essencethe concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

Although the book was attacked by critics from across the political spectrum for its perceived immorality and misanthropy and its overt hostility to religion (Rand was an atheist), it was an instant best seller. It was especially well received by business leaders, many of whom were impressed by its moral justification of capitalism and delighted to think of their occupations as noble and virtuous. Like The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged also appealed widely to young people through its extreme romanticism, its accessible and comprehensive philosophy, its rejection of traditional authority and convention, and its implicit invitation to the reader to join the ranks of the elite by modeling himself on the storys hero.

In 1950 Rand agreed to meet a young admirer, Nathan Blumenthal, on the basis of his several articulate fan letters. The two established an immediate rapport, and Blumenthal and his girlfriend, Barbara Weidman, became Rands friends as well as her intellectual followers. In 1951 the couple moved to New York, and Rand and OConnor soon followed. There the Brandens, as Nathan and Barbara called themselves after their marriage in 1953, introduced Rand to their friends and relatives, some of whom later attended regular meetings at Rands apartment for discussion and to read newly written chapters of Atlas Shrugged. The group, which called itself the Class of 43 (a reference to the publication date of The Fountainhead) or (ironically) the Collective, included Alan Greenspan, an economics consultant who would later head the presidents Council of Economic Advisers (197477) and serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve (19872006). Among members of the Collective Nathan Branden was unquestionably Rands favourite. She openly acknowledged him as her intellectual heir and formally designated him as such in the afterword of Atlas Shrugged, which she co-dedicated to him and to OConnor.

In the late 1950s, with Rands permission, Branden established a business designed to teach the basic principles of objectivism to sympathetic readers of Rands novels. The Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), as it was later called, offered courses in objectivism in New York and distributed tape-recorded lectures by Branden to objectivist centers in various other cities. Despite its outward appearance as an educational institution, NBI did not permit its students to think critically about objectivism or to develop objectivist ideas in novel ways. Through the success of NBI, Branden would eventually become the public guardian of objectivist orthodoxy against innovation or unauthorized borrowing by objectivist sympathizers, especially among the growing student right. In 1962 Branden and Rand launched the monthly Objectivist Newsletter (renamed The Objectivist in 1966). Meanwhile, Rands fame grew apace with the brisk sales of her novels. She was invited to speak at numerous colleges and universities and was interviewed on television talk shows and on the news program 60 Minutes. Growing into her role as a public intellectual, she published her first work of nonfiction, For the New Intellectual, largely a collection of philosophical passages from her fiction, in 1961. The Virtue of Selfishness (1964) and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966) were drawn mostly from lectures and newsletter articles.

In 1968 Rand learned that Branden, with whom she had been having an intermittent affair (with their spouses knowledge) since 1954, was involved in a romantic relationship with a younger woman. Accusing him of betraying objectivist principles, she stripped him of his partnership in The Objectivist and demanded that he surrender control of NBI, which was soon dissolved. The closing of the institute freed various self-described objectivists to publicly develop their own interpretations of Rands philosophyall of which, however, she rejected as perversions or plagiarism of her ideas. She was especially incensed at the use of objectivist vocabulary by young libertarians, whom she accused of disregarding morality and flirting with anarchism. Meanwhile, Brandens status as Rands favourite disciple was assumed by Leonard Peikoff, an original member of the Collective whom she would eventually designate as her intellectual and legal heir.

In 1971 Rand ceased publication of The Objectivist and replaced it with the fortnightly Ayn Rand Letter, which appeared with increasing irregularity until 1976. In 1974 she underwent surgery for lung cancer. Although she recovered, she never again had the energy to pursue large-scale writing projects. In 1979 she published Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, a collection of philosophical articles originally written in 1967. She was working on an adaptation of Atlas Shrugged for a television miniserieseventually unrealizedwhen she died.

Rand was continually frustrated by her failure to gain acceptance among academic philosophers, most of whom dismissed (or were simply unaware of) her work. This neglect, which she attributed to collectivist bias and incompetence, was partly due to the fictional form in which the best-known statements of her philosophy appeared, which necessarily rendered them imprecise by professional standards. Other factors were her idiosyncratic interpretation of the history of Western philosophy, her tendency to rely, even in her nonfiction works, on broad ad hominem attacks, and her general unwillingness to tolerate disagreement with her views among those with whom she associated.

In 1986 Barbara Branden published a memoir, The Passion of Ayn Rand, that disclosed Rands affair with Nathan and revealed unflattering details of her relations with members of the Collective and others. Despite the resulting damage to her reputation, her novels continued to enjoy large sales, and she retained a loyal following among conservatives and libertarians, including some high-ranking members of the Ronald Reagan administration (the most notable being Greenspan). In the 1990s and 2000s her works undoubtedly contributed to the increased popularity of libertarianism in the United States, and from 2009 she was an iconic figure in the antigovernment Tea Party movement. It is for these specifically political influences, rather than for her contributions to literature or philosophy, that she is likely to be remembered by future generations.

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Ayn Rand | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica.com

Inspirational Ayn Rand quotes On Life and Capitalism

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1.) A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. Ayn Rand

2.) Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. Ayn Rand

3.) Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. Ayn Rand

4.) Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual). Ayn Rand

5.) The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there arent enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Ayn Rand

6.) The question isnt who is going to let me; its who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand

7.) Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. its yours. Ayn Rand

8.) To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. Thats what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul would you understand why thats much harder?If its worth doing, its worth overdoing. Ayn Rand

9.) Joy is the goal of existence, and joy is not to be stumbled upon, but to be achieved, and the act of treason is to let its vision drown in the swamp of the moments torture. Ayn Rand

10.) I hope you will understand my hesitation in writing to one whom I admire as the greatest representative of a philosophy to which I want to dedicate my whole life. Ayn Rand

11.) Free competition enforced by law is a grotesque contradiction in terms. Ayn Rand

12.) What is greatness? I will answer: it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self-esteem. Ayn Rand

13.) Guilt is a rope that wears thin. Ayn Rand

14.) Learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness. Ayn Rand

15.) Thanksgiving is a typically American holidayThe lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production. Ayn Rand

16.) The upper classes are a nations past; the middle class is its future. Ayn Rand

17.) I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Ayn Rand

18.) I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. Ayn Rand

19.) Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing. Ayn Rand

20.) The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone. Ayn Rand

21.) You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand

22.) Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness. Ayn Rand

23.) The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it. Ayn Rand

24.) I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows. Ayn Rand

25.) Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Ayn Rand

26.) When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit. When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit. Ayn Rand

27.) The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction [that] you give it. Ayn Rand

28.) The most depraved type of human being . . . (is) the man without a purpose. Ayn Rand

29.) Theres nothing of any importance except how well you do your work. Ayn Rand

30.) Man is an end in himself. Romantic lovethe profound, exalted, lifelong passion that unites his mind and body in the sexual actis the living testimony to that principle. Ayn Rand

31.) To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of lovebecause he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone. Ayn Rand

32.) To say I love you one must know first how to say the I. Ayn Rand

33.) Dont help me or serve me, but let me see it once, because I need it. Dont work for my happiness, my brothers show me yours show me that it is possible show me your achievement and the knowledge will give me the courage for mine. Ayn Rand

34.) Love is the expression of ones values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another. Ayn Rand

35.) There is no conflict of interests among men, neither in business nor in trade nor in their most personal desiresif they omit the irrational from their view of the possible and destruction from the view of the practical. There is no conflict, and no call for sacrifice, and no man is a threat to the aims of anotherif men understand that reality is an absolute not to be faked, that lies do not work, that the unearned can not be had, that the undeserved cannot be given, that the destruction of a value which is, will not bring value to that which isnt. Ayn Rand

36.) The concept of free competition enforced by law is a grotesque contradiction in terms. Ayn Rand

37.) The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. Ayn Rand

38.) Life is the reward of virtue. And happiness is the goal and reward of life Ayn Rand

39.) You must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences. Ayn Rand

40.) Anything may be betrayed, anyone may be forgiven, but not those who lack the courage of their own greatness. Ayn Rand

41.) You were not born to be a second-hander. Ayn Rand

42.) I would step in the way of a bullet if it were aimed at my husband. It is not self-sacrifice to die protecting that which you value: If the value is great enough, you do not care to exist without it. Ayn Rand

43.) I dont make comparisons. I never think of myself in relation to anyone else. I just refuse to measure myself as part of anything. Im an utter egotist. Ayn Rand

44.) No ones happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or to destroy Ayn Rand

45.) Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong. Ayn Rand

46.) The ladder of success is the best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity Ayn Rand

47.) A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving. Ayn Rand

48.) Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to mens stupidity, but your talent to their reason. Ayn Rand

49.) Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing. Ayn Rand

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Inspirational Ayn Rand quotes On Life and Capitalism

Ayn Rand’s life & ideas | Ayn Rand, Objectivism | The Atlas …

Details February 26, 2015

Ayn Rand is Americas most controversial individualist. She was a bold woman who produced brilliant worksfusing fiction and philosophy. Her best-selling novels, like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, have sold millions of copies and continue to influence independent thinkers and celebrities the world over, from Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales to Angelina Jolie and Hugh Hefner.

Rand cut a striking figure, with her long-stemmed cigarette holder and intense gaze. Known for her fearless denunciations of irrationalism, Rand issued blistering critiques of powerful leaders, from the Pope to President Nixon. She could not be pigeon-holed as Right or Left, although she was known for her scathing attacks on Communism and all forms of collectivism.

She penned philosophical non-fiction works of such originality and power that she was credited by a small group of stunned intellectuals as having single-handedly solved an ancient philosophical puzzle. Yet the elite of her day refused to accept her as a legitimate philosopher. She derided them and their ideas; they returned the favor.

The new philosophy which she founded through her books andessays is called Objectivism. It is a philosophy that celebrates the power and potential of the individual, and reveals the principles necessary for developing a flourishing

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Ayn Rand's life & ideas | Ayn Rand, Objectivism | The Atlas ...

About Ayn Rand – Biography | AynRand.org

During her own lifetime, Rand became a famous and controversial figure. A best-selling author, she also carried her message to university classrooms, to Hollywood, to Congress, to the editorial page, to talk shows and radio programs. Her presence has only increased since her death in 1982, as her philosophy has become more well-known. Today, her books have sold in the millions, and she's the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, a U.S. postage stamp, university courses, and a philosophical society devoted to the study of her thought.

Fueled by her vision of man as a heroic being and by the original philosophy behind it, more and more people, from all walks of life, from businessmen to students to professors to athletes to artists, are saying the same thing: "Ayn Rand's writings changed my life."

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President Obama Jabs At Ayn Rand, Knocks Himself Out

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

By Wendy Milling

In a recent interview withRolling Stone, President Obama stated,Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up.

Im not trying to mock the President here he is just repeating an old propaganda line that was hatched by Rands opponents but I have to ask the adults who claim they outgrew Rand exactly what earth-shattering insight they have learned against her solution to the problem of universals? Against her solution to the is-ought problem? To her foundation of knowledge in the axiomatic validity of sense perception? To her theory of the locus of free will? How about her theory of aesthetics?

The reason I ask is that some of these issues and questions are more than two thousand years old, and no other philosopher has been able to crack them without ultimately lapsing into self-contradiction. So if anyone fancies that they are going to show up with their cracker barrel wisdom and invalidate her philosophy, even though no professional philosopher in half a century has been able to do so, I have to wonder what special knowledge they think they have. By all means, entertain us.

Perhaps these adults can also explain the part about feeling misunderstood, because it is rather opaque. When most of us feel misunderstood, we just restate our line of thinking until people understand it. In all seriousness, what on earth was that about? Are we to take that as some kind of psychological confession by leftists? What is an individual with such a mentality doing in the highest office in the land?

President Obama goes on to say, Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America.

This statement is so untethered from reality, it is hard to know where to begin. I will not begin by implicitly endorsing the notion that other people are the first or ultimate consideration in ethics by reassuring anyones crybaby sensibilities that Objectivism too cares about other peoples welfare. The good cops over at the Ayn Rand Institute, Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, have provided more than enough evidence over the years at their Forbes blog that Ayn Rands philosophy is eminently rational.

I am not affiliated with the Institute, so I have no such obligation. My preferred method is to take the billy club of logic to the opposite worldviews kneecaps and then beat it into the ground senseless. Anyone who makes everybody else the primary issue who needs upfront reassurance about the status of other people in a philosophical system isnt worth convincing. If someone is so hysterical about establishing the status of others that they insist on putting it before the question of their own, then they are weak, dependent, irrational, and, by their own admission, irrelevant.

Objectivism is a philosophy for winners, leaders, producers, creators, alpha males and females and those on their way. It is a philosophy for people with self-respect, self-loyalty, self-confidence, self-esteem, and independence. It is for those with a rugged individualist spirit. That is why Ayn Rand has an enormous reservoir of goodwill among the American people. America is a culture of winners. This is an exceptional nation, and Americans are still an exceptional people.

If you are an achiever, if you matter and you know it, why dont you give Ayn Rands nonfiction a serious read? Objectivism has answers. Lots and lots of rich, powerful answers.

The President or one of his fellow adults should also explain why, if it is wrong for us to spend our time how we wish and keep what we have earned, we are supposed to believe that it is right for others to take them. Ayn Rand, via John Galt, elaborates:

Why is it moral to serve the happiness of others, but not your own? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but immoral when experienced by you? If the sensation of eating a cake is a value, why is it an immoral indulgence in your stomach, but a moral goal for you to achieve in the stomach of others? Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Does virtue consist of serving vice? Is the moral purpose of those who are good, self-immolation for the sake of those who are evil?

In addition, President Obama should explain how his system of mutual self-sacrificing is supposed to work in practice. If everyone is stopping their own self-development to assist others, then who is excelling? Who is advancing to the point that they are creating the opportunities that others are supposed to be given?

Instead of trying to coddle economic losers, our culture had better concern itself with how to produce the next generation of geniuses to drive the wealth-creation process, because the productive geniuses are what keep 300 million people from starvation and exposure, not the government. They are not going to come from the ranks of the non-profit do-gooders who spend their days bleating about income inequality and redistributing wealth to the economically non-productive.

We can set the stage by accepting a proper code of ethics now one that teaches that rational selfishness is good and being productive is virtuous.

Wendy Milling is a contributor toRealClearMarkets.com.

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President Obama Jabs At Ayn Rand, Knocks Himself Out

Ayn Rand Quotes (Author of Atlas Shrugged)

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?"

Idon't know. Whatcould he do? What would you tell him?"

To shrug. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

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Ayn Rand Quotes (Author of Atlas Shrugged)

Ayn Rand – Philosopher, Writer – Biography

Who Was Ayn Rand?

Born in Russia in 1905, Ayn Rand moved to the United States in 1926 and tried to establish herself in Hollywood. Her first novel, We the Living (1936), championed her rejection of collectivist values in favor of individual self interest, a belief that became more explicit with her subsequent novels The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957). Following the immense success of the latter, Rand promoted her philosophy of Objectivism through courses, lectures and literature. She died in New York City on March 6, 1982.

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Ayn Rand was born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The oldest daughter of Jewish parents (and eventually an avowed atheist), she spent her early years in comfort thanks to her dad's success as a pharmacist, proving a brilliant student.

In 1917, her father's shop was suddenly seized by Bolshevik soldiers, forcing the family to resume life in poverty in the Crimea. The situation profoundly impacted young Alissa, who developed strong feelings toward government intrusion into individual livelihood. She returned to her city of birth to attend the University of Petrograd, graduating in 1924, and then enrolled at the State Institute for Cinema Arts to study screenwriting.

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Granted a visa to visit relatives in Chicago, Alissa left for the United States in early 1926, never to look back. She took on her soon-to-be-famous pen name and, after a few months in Chicago, moved to Hollywood to become a screenwriter.

Following a chance encounter with Hollywood titan Cecil B. DeMille, Rand became an extra on the set of his 1927 film The King of Kings, where she met actor Frank O'Connor. They married in 1929, and she became an American citizen in 1931.

Rand landed a job as a clerk at RKO Pictures, eventually rising to head of the wardrobe department, and continued developing her craft as a writer. In 1932, she sold her screenplay Red Pawn, a Soviet romantic thriller, to Universal Studios. She soon completed a courtroom drama called Penthouse Legend, which featured the gimmick of audience members serving as the jury. In late 1934, Rand and her husband moved to New York City for its production, now renamed Night of January 16th.

Around this time, Rand also completed her first novel, We the Living. Published in 1936 after several rejections, We the Living championed the moral authority of the individual through its heroine's battles with a Soviet totalitarian state. Rand followed with the novella Anthem (1938), about a future collectivist dystopia in which "I" has been stamped out of the language.

In 1937, Rand began researching a new novel by working for New York architect Ely Jacques Kahn. The result, after years of writing and more rejections, was The Fountainhead. Underscoring Rands individualistic underpinnings, the books hero, architect Howard Roark, refuses to adhere to conventions, going so far as to blowing up one of his own creations. While not an immediate success, The Fountainhead eventually achieved strong sales, and at the end of the decade became a feature film, with Gary Cooper in the role of Roark.

Rand's ideas became even more explicit with the 1957 publication of Atlas Shrugged. A massive work of more than 1,000 pages, Atlas Shrugged portrays a future in which leading industrialists drop out of a collectivist society that exploits their talents, culminating with a notoriously lengthy speech by protagonist John Galt. The novel drew some harsh reviews, but became an immediate best seller.

Around 1950, Rand met with a college student named Nathan Blumenthal, who changed his name to Nathaniel Braden and became the author's designated heir. Along with his wife, Barbara, Braden formed a group that met at Rand's apartment to engage in intellectual discussions. The group, which included future Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, called itself the Collective, or the Class of '43 (the publication year of The Fountainhead).

Rand soon honed her philosophy of what she termed "Objectivism": a belief in a concrete reality, from which individuals can discern existing truths, and the ultimate moral value of the pursuit of self interest. The development of this system essentially ended her career as a novelist: In 1958, the Nathaniel Branden Institute formed to spread her message through lectures, courses and literature, and in 1962, the author and her top disciple launched The Objectivist Newsletter. Her books during this period, including For the New Intellectual (1961) and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966), were primarily comprised of previously published essays and other works.

Following a public split with Braden, the author published The Romantic Manifesto (1969), a series of essays on the cultural importance of art, and repackaged her newsletter as The Ayn Rand Letter. She continued traveling to give lectures, though she was slowed by an operation for lung cancer. In 1979, she published a collection of articles in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, which included an essay from protg Leonard Peikoff.

Rand was working on a television adaptation of Atlas Shrugged when she died of heart failure at her home in New York City on March 6, 1982.

Although she weathered criticism for her perceived literary shortcomings and philosophical arguments, Rand undeniably left her mark on the Western culture she embraced. In 1985, Peikoff founded the Ayn Rand Institute to continue her teachings. The following year, Braden's ex-wife, Barbara, published a tell-all memoir, The Passion of Ayn Rand, which later was made into a movie starring Helen Mirren.

Interest in Rand's works resurfaced alongside the rise of the Tea Party movement during President Barack Obama's administration, with leading political proponents like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz proclaiming their admiration for the author. In 2010, the Ayn Rand Institute announced that more than 500,000 copies of Atlas Shrugged had been sold the previous year.

In 2017,Tony-winning director Ivo van Hove reintroduced The Fountainhead to the American public with a production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Having originated at Toneelgroep Amsterdam in the Netherlands, van Hove's version featured his performers speaking in Dutch, with their words projected onto a screen in English.

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Ayn Rand - Philosopher, Writer - Biography

Welcome to The Ayn Rand Institute | The Ayn Rand Institute

Ayn Rand (1905 1982) was a novelist and philosopher. She is best known for her novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and for the revolutionary philosophy she originated, Objectivism.

Ayn Rands philosophy for living on earth has changed the lives of millions and continues to influence American culture and politics. The Ayn Rand Institute is dedicated to advancing her principles of reason, rational self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism.

Ready to learn more about Ayn Rand and Objectivism?

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Welcome to The Ayn Rand Institute | The Ayn Rand Institute

Welcome to AynRand.org | AynRand.org

AynRand.org is the official website of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), the source for information on the life, writings and work of novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, ARI offers educational experiences based on Ayn Rands books and ideas for a variety of audiences, including students, educators, policymakers and lifelong learners. ARI also engages in research and advocacy efforts, applying Rands ideas to current issues and seeking to promote her philosophical principles of reason, rational self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism.

ARI is composed of a dedicated Board of Directors and an energetic staff of more than 55 people. We invite you to explore how Ayn Rand viewed the world and to consider the distinctive insights offered by ARIs thought leaders today.

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About Ayn Rand – Biography | AynRand.org

During her own lifetime, Rand became a famous and controversial figure. A best-selling author, she also carried her message to university classrooms, to Hollywood, to Congress, to the editorial page, to talk shows and radio programs. Her presence has only increased since her death in 1982, as her philosophy has become more well-known. Today, her books have sold in the millions, and she's the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, a U.S. postage stamp, university courses, and a philosophical society devoted to the study of her thought.

Fueled by her vision of man as a heroic being and by the original philosophy behind it, more and more people, from all walks of life, from businessmen to students to professors to athletes to artists, are saying the same thing: "Ayn Rand's writings changed my life."

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About Ayn Rand - Biography | AynRand.org

Ayn Rand raged against government benefits but grabbed …

Ayn Rand was not only a schlock novelist, she was also the progenitor of a sweeping moral philosophy that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes as well.

Her books provided wide-ranging parables of parasites, looters and moochers using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann OConnor(her husband was Frank OConnor).

As Michael Ford of Xavier UniversitysCenter for the Study of the American Dream wrote, In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.

Her ideas about government intervention in some idealized pristine marketplace serve as the basis for so much of the conservative rhetoric we see today. The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand, said Paul Ryan, the GOPs young budget star at a D.C. event honoring the author. On another occasion, he proclaimed, Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism.

Morally and economically, wrote Rand in a 1972 newsletter, the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull.

Journalist Patia Stephens wrote of Rand:

[She] called altruism a basic evil and referred to those who perpetuate the system of taxation and redistribution as looters and moochers. She wrote in her book The Virtue of Selfishness that accepting any government controls is delivering oneself into gradual enslavement.

Rand also believed that the scientific consensus on the dangers of tobacco was a hoax. By 1974, the two-pack-a-day smoker, then 69, required surgery for lung cancer. And it was at that moment of vulnerability that she succumbed to the lure of collectivism.

Evva Joan Pryor, who had been a social worker in New York in the 1970s, was interviewed in 1998 by Scott McConnell, who was then the director of communications for the Ayn Rand Institute. In his book, 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand, McConnell basically portrays Rand as first standing on principle, but then being mugged by reality. Stephens points to this exchange between McConnell and Pryor.

She was coming to a point in her life where she was going to receive the very thing she didnt like, which was Medicare and Social Security, Pryor told McConnell. I remember telling her that this was going to be difficult. For me to do my job she had to recognize that there were exceptions to her theory. So that started our political discussions. From there on with gusto we argued all the time.

The initial argument was on greed, Pryor continued. She had to see that there was such a thing as greed in this world. Doctors could cost an awful lot more money than books earn, and she could be totally wiped out by medical bills if she didnt watch it. Since she had worked her entire life, and had paid into Social Security, she had a right to it. She didnt feel that an individual should take help.

Rand had paid into the system, so why not take the benefits? Its true, but according to Stephens, some of Rands fellow travelers remained true to their principles.

Rand is one of three women the Cato Institute calls founders of American libertarianism. The other two, Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel Pat Paterson, both rejected Social Security benefits on principle. Lane, with whom Rand corresponded for several years, once quit an editorial job in order to avoid paying Social Security taxes. The Cato Institute says Lane considered Social Security a Ponzi fraud and told friends that it would be immoral of her to take part in a system that would predictably collapse so catastrophically. Lane died in 1968.

Paterson would end up dying a pauper. Rand went a different way.

But at least she put up a fight before succumbing to the imperatives of the real world one in which people get sick, and old, and many who are perfectly decent and hardworking dont end up being independently wealthy.

The degree to which Ayn Rand has become a touchstone for the modern conservative movement is striking. She was a sexual libertine, and, according to writer Mark Ames, she modeled her heroic characters on one of the most despicable sociopaths of her time. Ames conclusion is important for understanding todays political economy. Whenever you hear politicians or Tea Partiers dividing up the world between producers and collectivism, he wrote, just know that those ideas and words more likely than not are derived from the deranged mind of a serial-killer groupie.And when you see them taking their razor blades to the last remaining programs protecting the middle class from total abject destitutionSocial Security, Medicare and Medicaidand bragging about how they are slashing these programs for moral reasons, just remember Rands morality and who inspired her.

Now we know that Rand was also just as hypocritical as the Tea Party freshman who railed against government health care to get elected and then whined that he had to wait a month before getting his own Cadillac plan courtesy of the taxpayers.

But, as I note in my book, The Fifteen Biggest Lies About the Economy, thats par for the course. A central rule of the U.S. political economy is that people are attracted to the idea of limited government in the abstractand certainly dont want the government intruding in their homesbut they really, really like living in a society with adequately funded public services.

Thats just as true for an icon of modern conservatism as it is for a poor mother getting public health care for her kids.

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Ayn Rand raged against government benefits but grabbed ...

Welcome to The Ayn Rand Institute | The Ayn Rand Institute

Ayn Rand (1905 1982) was a novelist and philosopher. She is best known for her novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and for the revolutionary philosophy she originated, Objectivism.

Ayn Rands philosophy for living on earth has changed the lives of millions and continues to influence American culture and politics. The Ayn Rand Institute is dedicated to advancing her principles of reason, rational self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism.

Ready to learn more about Ayn Rand and Objectivism?

See more here:

Welcome to The Ayn Rand Institute | The Ayn Rand Institute

Ayn Rand | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica.com

Ayn Rand, original name Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, (born February 2, 1905, St. Petersburg, Russiadied March 6, 1982, New York, New York, U.S.), Russian-born American writer whose commercially successful novels promoting individualism and laissez-faire capitalism were influential among conservatives and libertarians and popular among generations of young people in the United States from the mid-20th century.

Her father, Zinovy Rosenbaum, was a prosperous pharmacist. After being tutored at home, Alissa Rosenbaum, the eldest of three children, was enrolled in a progressive school, where she excelled academically but was socially isolated. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, her fathers shop was confiscated by communist authorities, an event she deeply resented. As a student at Leningrad State University, she studied history and became acquainted with the works of Plato and Aristotle. After graduating in 1924, she enrolled in the State Institute for Cinematography, hoping to become a screenwriter.

The arrival of a letter from cousins in Chicago gave her an opportunity to leave the country on the pretext of gaining expertise that she could apply in the Soviet film industry. Upon her arrival in the United States in 1926, she changed her name to Ayn Rand. (The first name, which rhymes with pine, was inspired by the name of a Finnish writer, whom she never identified, and the surname she described as an abbreviation of Rosenbaum.) After six months in Chicago she moved to Hollywood, where a fortuitous encounter with the producer Cecil B. DeMille led to work as a movie extra and eventually to a job as a screenwriter. In 1929 she married the actor Frank OConnor. Soon hired as a filing clerk in the wardrobe department of RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she rose to head of the department within a year, meanwhile writing stories, plays, and film scenarios in her spare time. She became an American citizen in 1931.

Rands first successful play, Night of January 16th (1933; originally titled Penthouse Legend), was a paean to individualism in the form of a courtroom drama. In 1934 she and OConnor moved to New York City so that she could oversee the plays production on Broadway. That year she also wrote Ideal, about a self-centred film star on the run from the law, first as a novel and then as a play. However, she shelved both versions. The play was not produced until 1989, and the novel was not published until 2015. Her first published novel, We the Living (1936), was a romantic tragedy in which Soviet totalitarianism epitomized the inherent evils of collectivism, which she understood as the subordination of individual interests to those of the state. A subsequent novella, Anthem (1938), portrayed a future collectivist dystopia in which the concept of the self and even the word I have been lost.

Rand spent more than seven years working on her first major work, The Fountainhead (1943), the story of a handsome architectural genius whose individualism and integrity are evinced in his principled dedication to his own happiness. The hero, Howard Roark, blows up a public housing project he had designed after it is altered against his wishes by government bureaucrats. On trial for his crime, he delivers a lengthy speech in his own defense in which he argues for individualism over collectivism and egoism over altruism (the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self). The jury votes unanimously to acquit him. Despite generally bad reviews, the book attracted readers through word of mouth and eventually became a best seller. Rand sold it to Warner Brothers studio and wrote the screenplay for the film, which was released in 1949.

Having returned to Los Angeles with OConnor to work on the script for The Fountainhead, Rand signed a contract to work six months a year as a screenwriter for the independent producer Hal Wallis. In 1945 she began sketches for her next novel, Atlas Shrugged (1957; film part 1, 2011, part 2, 2012, part 3, 2014), which is generally considered her masterpiece. The book depicts a future United States on the verge of economic collapse after years of collectivist misrule, under which productive and creative citizens (primarily industrialists, scientists, and artists) have been exploited to benefit an undeserving population of moochers and incompetents. The hero, John Galt, a handsome and supremely self-interested physicist and inventor, leads a band of elite producers and creators in a strike designed to deprive the economy of their leadership and thereby force the government to respect their economic freedom. From their redoubt in Colorado, Galts Gulch, they watch as the national economy and the collectivist social system are destroyed. As the elite emerge from the Gulch in the novels final scene, Galt raises his hand over the desolate earth andtrace[s] in space the sign of the dollar.

Atlas Shrugged was notable for making explicit the philosophical assumptions that underlay The Fountainhead, which Rand described as only an overture to the later work. In an appendix to Atlas Shrugged, Rand described her systematic philosophy, which she called objectivism, as in essencethe concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

Although the book was attacked by critics from across the political spectrum for its perceived immorality and misanthropy and its overt hostility to religion (Rand was an atheist), it was an instant best seller. It was especially well received by business leaders, many of whom were impressed by its moral justification of capitalism and delighted to think of their occupations as noble and virtuous. Like The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged also appealed widely to young people through its extreme romanticism, its accessible and comprehensive philosophy, its rejection of traditional authority and convention, and its implicit invitation to the reader to join the ranks of the elite by modeling himself on the storys hero.

In 1950 Rand agreed to meet a young admirer, Nathan Blumenthal, on the basis of his several articulate fan letters. The two established an immediate rapport, and Blumenthal and his girlfriend, Barbara Weidman, became Rands friends as well as her intellectual followers. In 1951 the couple moved to New York, and Rand and OConnor soon followed. There the Brandens, as Nathan and Barbara called themselves after their marriage in 1953, introduced Rand to their friends and relatives, some of whom later attended regular meetings at Rands apartment for discussion and to read newly written chapters of Atlas Shrugged. The group, which called itself the Class of 43 (a reference to the publication date of The Fountainhead) or (ironically) the Collective, included Alan Greenspan, an economics consultant who would later head the presidents Council of Economic Advisers (197477) and serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve (19872006). Among members of the Collective Nathan Branden was unquestionably Rands favourite. She openly acknowledged him as her intellectual heir and formally designated him as such in the afterword of Atlas Shrugged, which she co-dedicated to him and to OConnor.

In the late 1950s, with Rands permission, Branden established a business designed to teach the basic principles of objectivism to sympathetic readers of Rands novels. The Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), as it was later called, offered courses in objectivism in New York and distributed tape-recorded lectures by Branden to objectivist centers in various other cities. Despite its outward appearance as an educational institution, NBI did not permit its students to think critically about objectivism or to develop objectivist ideas in novel ways. Through the success of NBI, Branden would eventually become the public guardian of objectivist orthodoxy against innovation or unauthorized borrowing by objectivist sympathizers, especially among the growing student right. In 1962 Branden and Rand launched the monthly Objectivist Newsletter (renamed The Objectivist in 1966). Meanwhile, Rands fame grew apace with the brisk sales of her novels. She was invited to speak at numerous colleges and universities and was interviewed on television talk shows and on the news program 60 Minutes. Growing into her role as a public intellectual, she published her first work of nonfiction, For the New Intellectual, largely a collection of philosophical passages from her fiction, in 1961. The Virtue of Selfishness (1964) and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966) were drawn mostly from lectures and newsletter articles.

In 1968 Rand learned that Branden, with whom she had been having an intermittent affair (with their spouses knowledge) since 1954, was involved in a romantic relationship with a younger woman. Accusing him of betraying objectivist principles, she stripped him of his partnership in The Objectivist and demanded that he surrender control of NBI, which was soon dissolved. The closing of the institute freed various self-described objectivists to publicly develop their own interpretations of Rands philosophyall of which, however, she rejected as perversions or plagiarism of her ideas. She was especially incensed at the use of objectivist vocabulary by young libertarians, whom she accused of disregarding morality and flirting with anarchism. Meanwhile, Brandens status as Rands favourite disciple was assumed by Leonard Peikoff, an original member of the Collective whom she would eventually designate as her intellectual and legal heir.

In 1971 Rand ceased publication of The Objectivist and replaced it with the fortnightly Ayn Rand Letter, which appeared with increasing irregularity until 1976. In 1974 she underwent surgery for lung cancer. Although she recovered, she never again had the energy to pursue large-scale writing projects. In 1979 she published Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, a collection of philosophical articles originally written in 1967. She was working on an adaptation of Atlas Shrugged for a television miniserieseventually unrealizedwhen she died.

Rand was continually frustrated by her failure to gain acceptance among academic philosophers, most of whom dismissed (or were simply unaware of) her work. This neglect, which she attributed to collectivist bias and incompetence, was partly due to the fictional form in which the best-known statements of her philosophy appeared, which necessarily rendered them imprecise by professional standards. Other factors were her idiosyncratic interpretation of the history of Western philosophy, her tendency to rely, even in her nonfiction works, on broad ad hominem attacks, and her general unwillingness to tolerate disagreement with her views among those with whom she associated.

In 1986 Barbara Branden published a memoir, The Passion of Ayn Rand, that disclosed Rands affair with Nathan and revealed unflattering details of her relations with members of the Collective and others. Despite the resulting damage to her reputation, her novels continued to enjoy large sales, and she retained a loyal following among conservatives and libertarians, including some high-ranking members of the Ronald Reagan administration (the most notable being Greenspan). In the 1990s and 2000s her works undoubtedly contributed to the increased popularity of libertarianism in the United States, and from 2009 she was an iconic figure in the antigovernment Tea Party movement. It is for these specifically political influences, rather than for her contributions to literature or philosophy, that she is likely to be remembered by future generations.

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Ayn Rand | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica.com

Who Is Ayn Rand? – The Objective Standard

Ayn Rand (19051982) was an American novelist and philosopher, and the creator of Objectivism, which she called a philosophy for living on earth.

Rands most widely read novels are The Fountainhead, a story about an independent and uncompromising architect; and Atlas Shrugged, a story about the role of the mind in human life and about what happens to the world when the thinkers and producers mysteriously disappear. Her most popular nonfiction books are The Virtue of Selfishness, a series of essays about the foundations and principles of the morality of self-interest; and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, a series of essays about what capitalism is and why it is the only moral social system.

Rand was born in Russia, where she attended grade school and university; studied history, philosophy, and screenwriting; and witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution and the birth of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1925, she left the burgeoning communist state, telling Soviet authorities she was going for a brief visit with relatives in America, and never returned.

She soon made her way to Hollywood, where she worked as a screenwriter, married actor Frank OConnor, and wrote her first novel, We The Living. She then moved to New York City, where she wrote Anthem (a novelette), The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, numerous articles and essays, and several nonfiction books in which she defined and elaborated the principles of Objectivism.

Rands staunch advocacy of reason (as against faith and whim), self-interest (as against self-sacrifice), individualism and individual rights (as against collectivism and group rights), and capitalism (as against all forms of statism) make her both the most controversial and most important philosopher of the 20th century.

Describing Objectivism, Rand wrote: My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

For a good biography of Rand, see Jeffery Brittings Ayn Rand or Scott McConnells 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand. For a brief presentation of the principles of Objectivism, see What is Objectivism? For the application of these principles to cultural and political issues of the day, subscribe to The Objective Standard, the preeminent source for commentary from an Objectivist perspective.

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Ayn Rand’s life & ideas | Ayn Rand, Objectivism | The Atlas …

Details February 26, 2015

Ayn Rand is Americas most controversial individualist. She was a bold woman who produced brilliant worksfusing fiction and philosophy. Her best-selling novels, like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, have sold millions of copies and continue to influence independent thinkers and celebrities the world over, from Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales to Angelina Jolie and Hugh Hefner.

Rand cut a striking figure, with her long-stemmed cigarette holder and intense gaze. Known for her fearless denunciations of irrationalism, Rand issued blistering critiques of powerful leaders, from the Pope to President Nixon. She could not be pigeon-holed as Right or Left, although she was known for her scathing attacks on Communism and all forms of collectivism.

She penned philosophical non-fiction works of such originality and power that she was credited by a small group of stunned intellectuals as having single-handedly solved an ancient philosophical puzzle. Yet the elite of her day refused to accept her as a legitimate philosopher. She derided them and their ideas; they returned the favor.

The new philosophy which she founded through her books andessays is called Objectivism. It is a philosophy that celebrates the power and potential of the individual, and reveals the principles necessary for developing a flourishing

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Ayn Rand | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica.com

Ayn Rand, original name Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, (born February 2, 1905, St. Petersburg, Russiadied March 6, 1982, New York, New York, U.S.), Russian-born American writer whose commercially successful novels promoting individualism and laissez-faire capitalism were influential among conservatives and libertarians and popular among generations of young people in the United States from the mid-20th century.

Her father, Zinovy Rosenbaum, was a prosperous pharmacist. After being tutored at home, Alissa Rosenbaum, the eldest of three children, was enrolled in a progressive school, where she excelled academically but was socially isolated. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, her fathers shop was confiscated by communist authorities, an event she deeply resented. As a student at Leningrad State University, she studied history and became acquainted with the works of Plato and Aristotle. After graduating in 1924, she enrolled in the State Institute for Cinematography, hoping to become a screenwriter.

The arrival of a letter from cousins in Chicago gave her an opportunity to leave the country on the pretext of gaining expertise that she could apply in the Soviet film industry. Upon her arrival in the United States in 1926, she changed her name to Ayn Rand. (The first name, which rhymes with pine, was inspired by the name of a Finnish writer, whom she never identified, and the surname she described as an abbreviation of Rosenbaum.) After six months in Chicago she moved to Hollywood, where a fortuitous encounter with the producer Cecil B. DeMille led to work as a movie extra and eventually to a job as a screenwriter. In 1929 she married the actor Frank OConnor. Soon hired as a filing clerk in the wardrobe department of RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., she rose to head of the department within a year, meanwhile writing stories, plays, and film scenarios in her spare time. She became an American citizen in 1931.

Rands first successful play, Night of January 16th (1933; originally titled Penthouse Legend), was a paean to individualism in the form of a courtroom drama. In 1934 she and OConnor moved to New York City so that she could oversee the plays production on Broadway. That year she also wrote Ideal, about a self-centred film star on the run from the law, first as a novel and then as a play. However, she shelved both versions. The play was not produced until 1989, and the novel was not published until 2015. Her first published novel, We the Living (1936), was a romantic tragedy in which Soviet totalitarianism epitomized the inherent evils of collectivism, which she understood as the subordination of individual interests to those of the state. A subsequent novella, Anthem (1938), portrayed a future collectivist dystopia in which the concept of the self and even the word I have been lost.

Rand spent more than seven years working on her first major work, The Fountainhead (1943), the story of a handsome architectural genius whose individualism and integrity are evinced in his principled dedication to his own happiness. The hero, Howard Roark, blows up a public housing project he had designed after it is altered against his wishes by government bureaucrats. On trial for his crime, he delivers a lengthy speech in his own defense in which he argues for individualism over collectivism and egoism over altruism (the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self). The jury votes unanimously to acquit him. Despite generally bad reviews, the book attracted readers through word of mouth and eventually became a best seller. Rand sold it to Warner Brothers studio and wrote the screenplay for the film, which was released in 1949.

Having returned to Los Angeles with OConnor to work on the script for The Fountainhead, Rand signed a contract to work six months a year as a screenwriter for the independent producer Hal Wallis. In 1945 she began sketches for her next novel, Atlas Shrugged (1957; film part 1, 2011, part 2, 2012, part 3, 2014), which is generally considered her masterpiece. The book depicts a future United States on the verge of economic collapse after years of collectivist misrule, under which productive and creative citizens (primarily industrialists, scientists, and artists) have been exploited to benefit an undeserving population of moochers and incompetents. The hero, John Galt, a handsome and supremely self-interested physicist and inventor, leads a band of elite producers and creators in a strike designed to deprive the economy of their leadership and thereby force the government to respect their economic freedom. From their redoubt in Colorado, Galts Gulch, they watch as the national economy and the collectivist social system are destroyed. As the elite emerge from the Gulch in the novels final scene, Galt raises his hand over the desolate earth andtrace[s] in space the sign of the dollar.

Atlas Shrugged was notable for making explicit the philosophical assumptions that underlay The Fountainhead, which Rand described as only an overture to the later work. In an appendix to Atlas Shrugged, Rand described her systematic philosophy, which she called objectivism, as in essencethe concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

Although the book was attacked by critics from across the political spectrum for its perceived immorality and misanthropy and its overt hostility to religion (Rand was an atheist), it was an instant best seller. It was especially well received by business leaders, many of whom were impressed by its moral justification of capitalism and delighted to think of their occupations as noble and virtuous. Like The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged also appealed widely to young people through its extreme romanticism, its accessible and comprehensive philosophy, its rejection of traditional authority and convention, and its implicit invitation to the reader to join the ranks of the elite by modeling himself on the storys hero.

In 1950 Rand agreed to meet a young admirer, Nathan Blumenthal, on the basis of his several articulate fan letters. The two established an immediate rapport, and Blumenthal and his girlfriend, Barbara Weidman, became Rands friends as well as her intellectual followers. In 1951 the couple moved to New York, and Rand and OConnor soon followed. There the Brandens, as Nathan and Barbara called themselves after their marriage in 1953, introduced Rand to their friends and relatives, some of whom later attended regular meetings at Rands apartment for discussion and to read newly written chapters of Atlas Shrugged. The group, which called itself the Class of 43 (a reference to the publication date of The Fountainhead) or (ironically) the Collective, included Alan Greenspan, an economics consultant who would later head the presidents Council of Economic Advisers (197477) and serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve (19872006). Among members of the Collective Nathan Branden was unquestionably Rands favourite. She openly acknowledged him as her intellectual heir and formally designated him as such in the afterword of Atlas Shrugged, which she co-dedicated to him and to OConnor.

In the late 1950s, with Rands permission, Branden established a business designed to teach the basic principles of objectivism to sympathetic readers of Rands novels. The Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI), as it was later called, offered courses in objectivism in New York and distributed tape-recorded lectures by Branden to objectivist centers in various other cities. Despite its outward appearance as an educational institution, NBI did not permit its students to think critically about objectivism or to develop objectivist ideas in novel ways. Through the success of NBI, Branden would eventually become the public guardian of objectivist orthodoxy against innovation or unauthorized borrowing by objectivist sympathizers, especially among the growing student right. In 1962 Branden and Rand launched the monthly Objectivist Newsletter (renamed The Objectivist in 1966). Meanwhile, Rands fame grew apace with the brisk sales of her novels. She was invited to speak at numerous colleges and universities and was interviewed on television talk shows and on the news program 60 Minutes. Growing into her role as a public intellectual, she published her first work of nonfiction, For the New Intellectual, largely a collection of philosophical passages from her fiction, in 1961. The Virtue of Selfishness (1964) and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966) were drawn mostly from lectures and newsletter articles.

In 1968 Rand learned that Branden, with whom she had been having an intermittent affair (with their spouses knowledge) since 1954, was involved in a romantic relationship with a younger woman. Accusing him of betraying objectivist principles, she stripped him of his partnership in The Objectivist and demanded that he surrender control of NBI, which was soon dissolved. The closing of the institute freed various self-described objectivists to publicly develop their own interpretations of Rands philosophyall of which, however, she rejected as perversions or plagiarism of her ideas. She was especially incensed at the use of objectivist vocabulary by young libertarians, whom she accused of disregarding morality and flirting with anarchism. Meanwhile, Brandens status as Rands favourite disciple was assumed by Leonard Peikoff, an original member of the Collective whom she would eventually designate as her intellectual and legal heir.

In 1971 Rand ceased publication of The Objectivist and replaced it with the fortnightly Ayn Rand Letter, which appeared with increasing irregularity until 1976. In 1974 she underwent surgery for lung cancer. Although she recovered, she never again had the energy to pursue large-scale writing projects. In 1979 she published Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, a collection of philosophical articles originally written in 1967. She was working on an adaptation of Atlas Shrugged for a television miniserieseventually unrealizedwhen she died.

Rand was continually frustrated by her failure to gain acceptance among academic philosophers, most of whom dismissed (or were simply unaware of) her work. This neglect, which she attributed to collectivist bias and incompetence, was partly due to the fictional form in which the best-known statements of her philosophy appeared, which necessarily rendered them imprecise by professional standards. Other factors were her idiosyncratic interpretation of the history of Western philosophy, her tendency to rely, even in her nonfiction works, on broad ad hominem attacks, and her general unwillingness to tolerate disagreement with her views among those with whom she associated.

In 1986 Barbara Branden published a memoir, The Passion of Ayn Rand, that disclosed Rands affair with Nathan and revealed unflattering details of her relations with members of the Collective and others. Despite the resulting damage to her reputation, her novels continued to enjoy large sales, and she retained a loyal following among conservatives and libertarians, including some high-ranking members of the Ronald Reagan administration (the most notable being Greenspan). In the 1990s and 2000s her works undoubtedly contributed to the increased popularity of libertarianism in the United States, and from 2009 she was an iconic figure in the antigovernment Tea Party movement. It is for these specifically political influences, rather than for her contributions to literature or philosophy, that she is likely to be remembered by future generations.

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Ayn Rand | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica.com

Who Is Ayn Rand? – The Objective Standard

Ayn Rand (19051982) was an American novelist and philosopher, and the creator of Objectivism, which she called a philosophy for living on earth.

Rands most widely read novels are The Fountainhead, a story about an independent and uncompromising architect; and Atlas Shrugged, a story about the role of the mind in human life and about what happens to the world when the thinkers and producers mysteriously disappear. Her most popular nonfiction books are The Virtue of Selfishness, a series of essays about the foundations and principles of the morality of self-interest; and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, a series of essays about what capitalism is and why it is the only moral social system.

Rand was born in Russia, where she attended grade school and university; studied history, philosophy, and screenwriting; and witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution and the birth of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1925, she left the burgeoning communist state, telling Soviet authorities she was going for a brief visit with relatives in America, and never returned.

She soon made her way to Hollywood, where she worked as a screenwriter, married actor Frank OConnor, and wrote her first novel, We The Living. She then moved to New York City, where she wrote Anthem (a novelette), The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, numerous articles and essays, and several nonfiction books in which she defined and elaborated the principles of Objectivism.

Rands staunch advocacy of reason (as against faith and whim), self-interest (as against self-sacrifice), individualism and individual rights (as against collectivism and group rights), and capitalism (as against all forms of statism) make her both the most controversial and most important philosopher of the 20th century.

Describing Objectivism, Rand wrote: My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

For a good biography of Rand, see Jeffery Brittings Ayn Rand or Scott McConnells 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand. For a brief presentation of the principles of Objectivism, see What is Objectivism? For the application of these principles to cultural and political issues of the day, subscribe to The Objective Standard, the preeminent source for commentary from an Objectivist perspective.

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Who Is Ayn Rand? - The Objective Standard


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