Monday, 9 February 2015

Sorry detractors: “Ayn Rand is 110 and still in your face after all these years” [updated]

Business news site CNBC confronts the legacy they still can’t escape.

imageModern-day capitalism has no shortage of heavyweight scholars… Yet the person most frequently evoked by proponents and detractors alike was neither a trained economist nor a traditional businessperson.
    Ayn Rand, author, thinker and political lightning rod, would have turned 110 years old this week. More than three decades after her death, she remains one of the most influential defenders of the free market… One of her biggest defenders says her storytelling is one of the major reasons why she remains such an icon.
    "The stories are timeless … and it leaves a more emotional impression on our lives. We remember the stories" even more than the facts, figures and data presented by traditional economists, said Brook… [a point echoed by Rand who] wrote to an acquaintance saying that "it's time we realize—as [Communists] do—that spreading our ideas in the form of fiction is a great weapon, because it arouses the public to an emotional, as well as intellectual, response to our cause." …
    A knack for compelling narratives may explain why Atlas Shrugged—Rand's seminal work that was almost universally panned when it was first published in 1957—has drawn legions of acolytes in the decades since.

But the fact she told great stories that get read and re-read isn’t the only reason she remains a force, and in recent years has gone “from pariah to icon”:

"Capitalism is in retreat in the West because there is doubt about its moral foundations," he said. Through her writing and uncompromising philosophical beliefs, "no one presented an unequivocal defence of capitalism's morality like Ayn Rand."
    The persistent interest in the author's tomes is because "you get the sense that Rand got it," he said. "She gave business leaders a sense of moral authority."

Her books continue to sell by the truckload.

In the wake of the 2009 financial crisis, and the government's response to the meltdown, sales of "Atlas" topped 7 million copies, and the book is now widely considered a classic. At last count, [her] collective writings have sold more than 25 million worldwide.
    By being so closely linked to free market economics, Rand's cultural import is in some ways similar to the fictional works of
Philip Dick or Isaac Asimov. Both authors' writings have been given life on screen, and have taken centre stage in debates over artificial intelligence and technological advancement.
    "If you control Hollywood and storytelling…. it has a profound impact on the culture," Brook said.

A fairly good piece for a mainstream “narrative.”
Read the whole piece here, including Rand-hatred from both left and right.

UPDATE:

How Ayn Rand Is Changing the World
Earlier this week, we celebrated Ayn Rand’s 110th birthday and the Ayn Rand Institute’s 30th anniversary. On the Yaron Brook Show, Yaron discussed how Ayn Rand has changed the world, her views on selfishness, why Medicare is immoral, and he announced the launch of ARI Europe. Tune in.

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