Friday, October 16, 2009

Ayn Rand and greed, populist again?

I was watching the Daily Show the other day and Jon Stewart had Jennifer Burns on the program. They were discussing her new book—'Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right'—which is obviously about conservative novelist, anti-altruist & free-market heroine Ayn Rand.

You see, now that conservatives are in the wilderness, so-to-speak, and Democrats are in charge of the government, Ayn Rand is suddenly popular again. Her theories about free-markets, limited government, the importance of greed, etc. are all making a comeback.

On the show Rand's atheism came up, which rarely does when conservatives discuss her. Conveniently, for many conservatives one's lack of religious convictions are only relevant when discussing liberal ideologues.

Other details about Ayn Rand that tend to be left out by otherwise preachy conservatives include her sexual affair with a man 26 years her junior. I read about this in a Time magazine article last week which discussed Mrs. Burns' book as well as Anne Heller's. 

Apparently this affair went on with regularity while she was married, mind you. Now she had her husband's permission, as did her young lover so it wasn't really infidelity but it was still certainly adultery. Do I really care? No, but conservatives normally do. Just, again, not when it is one of their own. That's what makes this relevant and interesting, to me.

Read this fascinating article for more on Ayn Rand, these two books, class warfare, right-wing populism, and the distorted conservative narrative that is becoming popular once again.

No comments: