Ayn Rand is one of my favorite authors, even though I know her style is somewhat stiff. For me, it's the philosophy that matters. I've read Atlas Shrugged three times, and will probably do so again sometime. It is as important a book to me as the Bible is to so many others. No, Atlas Shrugged is not a "religious" book in the way the Bible is. It is not significant for any mystical content, for it has none. It is a work that celebrates rational man, and romanticizes (proudly) the potential man has to do ever greater things. It celebrates man as profoundly self-reliant, not dependent upon a gracious (or vengeful) god in the heavens, nor fearful of demons below.
Ayn Rand's philosophy is often thought of as grim, for the very reason that it does not invoke the idea of a God/Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/benevolent politician. But it's not grim -- it's liberating. Neither was Rand herself grim. YouTube currently has online a series of clips from an hour-long interview on the Phil Donahue show in the 70s. In it, we see a happy, humorous Ayn Rand, who doesn't suffer fools, but at the same time, is able to laugh at herself. The links are below. To my children, maybe this will give you a better idea of where your old man is coming from. To others, just enjoy it, and think.
- Ayn Rand - Donahue Interview Part 1
- Ayn Rand - Donahue Interview Part 2
- Ayn Rand - Donahue Interview Part 3
- Ayn Rand - Donahue Interview Part 4
- Ayn Rand - Donahue Interview Part 5
- and from the movie: The Fountainhead - Howard Roark Speech
Also, there is an interview from 1959 with Mike Wallace (looking almost like a kid.)