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Ayn Rand might actually have been a princess in an imaginary castle… of economics…

April 22, 2011

So I’m considering writing an essay about Ayn Rand. I’ve read Atlas Shrugged and all, but abstract philosophical novels aren’t always the best way to treat complex subjects. There’s a reason for that by the way. Abstract philosophical novels are exactly that – abstract. They’re constructions of fantasy. Which is fine if you’re trying to highlight certain ideals that you find interesting or compelling, but not all that great if you’re attempting to build a system of real world thought.

So last night I actually read an essay of Rand’s that she wrote 50 years ago called “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business” (I know, right?). Lo and behold, the same fantastical ideals appeared there; and then it hit me: Rand really did live in a fantasy world. John Galt wasn’t a metaphor, he was her knight in shining armor.

Of course I’m being both overly simplistic and slightly humorous. Rand’s ideas – for all their faults – deserve better than that (which I hope to give them in the essay); and there’s no question she was a highly intelligent woman. I do wonder how she would have looked in a crown though.

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