Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Here's The Letter 

As published today in the Washington Post:

George F. Will mischaracterizes Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," saying Ms. Rand "had only an idea -- a good one (capitalism is splendid) -- but only one." He must not have finished the book (which is more than 1,000 pages).

In "Atlas Shrugged" Ayn Rand presents a philosophic system in which all associated branches are interrelated and consistent. These branches include metaphysics (the nature of the universe), epistemology (how we know what we know), ethics (the differences between right and wrong), politics (how we organize ourselves in society) and aesthetics (art). As readers can gauge from these diverse areas of intellectual inquiry, her feat is quite an accomplishment.

In my efforts to explain to others the essence of Ms. Rand's philosophy, objectivism, I often relate a story I heard her associate Nathaniel Branden tell when asked why he thought her books appealed so much to adolescents. Mr. Branden explained that people at that age often begin to question the meaning of life and the reason for their existence. They naturally look to their parents' lives for answers, and some come to the conclusion that there must be something better. Ayn Rand supplies the something better.

Feb. 2 is the 100th anniversary of Ayn Rand's birth. What a perfect excuse to pick up a copy of "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged."


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