Readers often say that reading Ayn Rand changed their lives. A few days ago, a young Turkish immigrant named Zuhal came to my apartment to interview me for a blog she writes and told me how encountering WE THE LIVING two summers ago changed her life: it inspired her to leave her family and friends in Turkey and move permanently to the United States. She wanted to be an American, free of the constraints of religion, superstition, and tradition. Specifically, she told me, when she read the ending scene of the novel, in which Kira, the heroine, risks death and perishes while trudging toward Soviet Russia’s border with the West and freedom, Zuhal made up her mind that, for her, living without freedom is not living at all.

During five years of writing a full-scale biography of the remarkable Ayn Rand, I, too, have been changed. I have learned to listen more carefully to the logic and quality of thought our politicians and social critics bring to their political and economic arguments. I’ve become convinced that individual rights make up our most important inheritance and that “unearned guilt” (in Rand’s apt phrase) and the propagation of political fear erode it. I have stopped thinking that “altruism” is an uncomplicated, entirely benign concept.

In the days and weeks to come, I’ll use this blog to write about the ways in which Ayn Rand has affected my thinking and that of others; political and moral questions she raises but does not answer to everyone’s satisfaction, including mine; and her still-powerful influence on large, important corners of our culture.

I’ll also post some of the comments about Rand and my book that I’ve seen on websites and in chat rooms that I think are wrong-minded in interesting ways. I’ll answer all gripes and divergent opinions and invite you to do the same–as well as state your own opinions–in a comments section.

My first blog will be on “What Conservatives Don’t Know about Ayn Rand.” I’ll post it on Saturday, March 6. I hope you’ll join me.


3 thoughts on “WELCOME TO MY BLOG

  1. Anne, I’m a friend of Rand in the way that sometimes we are friends with people whom we love for their passion, energy and unique insight into certain issues, but whom we can also see is deeply flawed and behaves in gravely unacceptable ways. I find her to have some very sharp insight on politics and society, and some outrageously wrong and ridiculous beliefs about human nature and emotions, as well as some very misguided beliefs about the nature of her own system of thought. In the end, I just kind of love her because she was a balls to the wall believer and a fascinating individual. I enjoyed your book very much, probably because it seems you are coming from a similar perspective on Rand!

    I’ve only read the Fountainhead — tried to read Atlas a couple times but the polemical nature of it just keep me from getting too far in it. But my husband was a follower of Rand as a teenager and is still a fan, though a critical one and no longer a follower. So I’ve seen all her TV interviews, read Nathan and Barbara’s books, seen the film of We the Living, and I’ve interacted socially with all levels of Objectivists, from ARI members to supposed “post-Objectivists.” I find the whole subject just fascinating, although I am not and could never in a million years be an Objectivist.

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