About the best thing that can be said about Ayn Rand is that few people take her seriously. Although her books are still widely read, Rand’s pseudo-religious cultObjectivismis largely ignored or disdained even by the fans of her work. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, as Alyssa Berznak relates in a heart-breaking tale of when her father fell under Rand’s selfish spell :
My parents split up when I was 4. My father, a lawyer, wrote the divorce papers himself and included one specific rule: My mother was forbidden to raise my brother and me religiously. She agreed, dissolving Sunday church and Bible study with one swift signature. Mom didn’t mind; she was agnostic and knew we didn’t need religion to be good people. But a disdain for faith wasn’t the only reason he wrote God out of my childhood. There was simply no room in our household for both Jesus Christ and my father’s one true love: Ayn Rand.
[ . . . ]
What is objectivism? If you’d asked me that question as a child, I could have trotted to the foyer of my father’s home and referenced a framed quote by Rand that hung there like a cross. It read: “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.” As a little kid I interpreted this to mean: Love yourself. Nowadays, Rand’s bit is best summed up by the rapper Drake, who sang: “Imma do me.”
(Note: Berznak’s story is a prime example of why I think it is important to continue to denounce Ayn Rand. The novelist’s resurgence in popularity is due in large part to people who self-identify as Christians. The fact that otherwise sensible believers continue to support the weird cult leader is simply inexplicable to me. As Rand herself would say, you can side with her or Christbut not both.)