Ayn Rand rides again - although maybe give the movie a miss

by Toby Manhire / 29 October, 2012
And the high-priestess of individualism is a bestseller in some unlikely places.
Paul Ryan’s place on the outside weathers of the rightwing has come in for a good bit of scrutiny since his appointment to the Republican ticket.

Observers have been particularly intrigued by the would be vice-president’s attraction to the works of novelist Ayn Rand, author of the free-market, anti-state individualist’s bible, Atlas Shrugged, first published in 1957.


Barack Obama was asked about the Ryan-Rand thing as part of his interview with Rolling Stone in the new edition.

Says the president:

Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realise that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a "you're on your own" society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.


Well, a good number within that chunk you’re talking about, Obama, have shown they're in it together.

While Atlas Shrugged might be famous for “praising profit-makers and decrying altruism”, the group of disciples that has bonded together to finance Atlas Shrugged Part II “expect to lose money on it”, says the Economist.

The first film, released last year, was panned, and lost about US $3 million. The new movie, which cost twice the $10 million of the first in the planned trilogy, has fared even more poorly. With “one of the worst domestic openings ever”, says Alt Film Guide, it is “a mind-boggling flop”.

So far it’s rating a miserable 5% on the review site Rotten Tomatoes.

For all that, the high-priestess of individualism still has a strong following. “Devotees are mostly American,” says the Economist, but Rand remains popular, too, in Britain, Scandinavia and Canada.

And India, where the Rand “craze” has attracted include well-known businesspeople, footballers, and Bollywood stars. “And – perhaps most gratifyingly of all for those who loathe collectivism and prize the verdict of the market,” says the Economist. “Rand’s books outsell Karl Marx’s 16-fold.”
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Jane Goodall: We can live in harmony with nature
76836 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Profiles

Jane Goodall: We can live in harmony with nature

by Sally Blundell

A world in which humans live in harmony with nature is still possible, says veteran environmental campaigner Jane Goodall.

Read more
Film festival 2017: David Larsen on the highlights (and lowlights) so far
76887 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Movies

Film festival 2017: David Larsen on the highlights…

by David Larsen

The New Zealand International Film Festival is back for another year and Metro's David Larsen is in his happy place.

Read more
Richard Dawkins' truth, science and tediousness
76845 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Books

Richard Dawkins' truth, science and tediousness

by Danyl McLauchlan

Richard Dawkins’ profound admiration for himself comes through loud and clear – with footnotes.

Read more
As anti-vaccination numbers rise, is it a case of herd stupidity, not immunity?
75047 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Health

As anti-vaccination numbers rise, is it a case of …

by Sarah Lang

It’s astonishing just how many well-educated, presumably semi-intelligent New Zealanders subscribe to and try to spread this kind of nonsense.

Read more
The dreaded autocorrect disaster
76840 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

The dreaded autocorrect disaster

by Joanne Black

Autocorrect may hide your texting and typing bloopers, but it won’t stop your blushes.

Read more
Retailers say competition laws block charge on plastic bags
76850 2017-07-24 16:14:42Z Environment

Retailers say competition laws block charge on pla…

by RNZ

1.5 billion plastic bags are used here each year and on average it takes just 12 minutes before a bag enters the waste stream.

Read more
Crossword 1037 answers and explanations
6 reasons your next family holiday should be in Taranaki
76777 2017-07-24 08:32:07Z Travel

6 reasons your next family holiday should be in Ta…

by Venture Taranaki

How to holiday like a local in the Naki.

Read more