The Intellectual Activist
An Objectivist Review
Ayn Rand and Her Influence as an Icon Today
Categories: Ayn Rand

As the author of books that frequently can be found on the top of lists of the most influential books in America, Ayn Rand continues to have success as an icon long after her death. She seemingly prophesied the 2008 economic crises in her mainstay novel Atlas Shrugged. She is often quoted by political leaders and still seen as a relevant philosopher.

Humble Beginnings

Rand was born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1905. Her father was a successful pharmacist and businessman. She excelled in academics and writing and had an intense interest in politics as a young lady. In 1925, she secured a visa to visit family in the United States and fell in love with Manhattan. She eventually made her way to Chicago and then Hollywood, working odd jobs to further her career as a writer. She eventually worked as a screenwriter before publishing her first novel, We the Living (Heller, 2009).

Novel Notoriety

Rand was perhaps most well known for her literary works, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, both philosophical novels with subtle tones of romance. Her novels brought worldwide success and both positive and negative critiques. She continued her free market and anti-communism activism demonstrating her commitment to changing the world in other ways. She began a philosophical movement of objectivism, cementing her place as an American icon (Burns, 2009).

Iconic Ideals

Rand felt compelled to write stories that mirrored her philosophical beliefs which she described as the opposite of communism. She believed that the world was divided between a small group of heroes that were productive and those who were evil and incompetent. She surrounded herself with other young idealists as she developed and shared her beliefs (Branden, 1986).

Rand’s theory of Objectivism is based on the principals that facts and reality are absolute, the only way to be certain of anything is by utilizing reason, “your life belongs to you and the good is to live it,” and the importance of protecting the individual’s rights (Rand, 1957). With her forward way of thinking and her talent of writing, Rand influenced many people. Many
politicians and conservatives praise her books and beliefs, including Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan. Ryan has stated that Atlas Shrugged is one book he often rereads, suggests to others, and even gives as a gift (Weiner, 2012).

Rand’s legacy continues to be evident today in many ways. She worked tirelessly to target the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, and the Fairness Doctrine. The FCC is still under constant attack and the Doctrine no longer exists in our world years later. Another of her crusades was against antitrust law which due to her influence still receives very vocal opposition and many organizations inspired by her aim to eradicate antitrust law entirely.

References:
Branden, B. The Passion of Ayn Rand. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company.
Burns, J. (2009). Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. New York: Oxford
University Press.
Heller, A. (2009). Ayn Rand and the World She Made. New York: Doubleday.
Rand, A. (1957). Atlas shrugged. New York: Random House.

Weiner, R. (2012). Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand. Retrieved from
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/what-ayn-rand-says-about-paul-
ryan/2012/08/13/fd40d574-e56d-11e1-8741-940e3f6dbf48_blog.html?utm_term=.fb013228bc41

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