Ayn Rand’s Butlers

 Posted by on 25 October 2005 at 7:14 am  Uncategorized
Oct 252005

This “Strange Bedfellows article first caught my attention for its bizarre understanding of Ayn Rand. Here’s how it starts:

In the mid-20th century a brash author, Ayn Rand, wrote two best selling novels, The Fountainhead (1943), and Atlas Shrugged (1957). Rand was the consummate economic conservative. In her world the good guys were entrepreneurs, tycoons who bought land, built factories, and lived in lush splendor. She hated taxation, hated government, hated anything that stood in the way of strong people who got what they wanted. Billboards and smiling butlers were the symbols of virtue in Rand’s world. There were no other. Her bold, courageous capitalists slept around at will, as promiscuous as pit bull terriers. Mom and dad, church on Sunday, or anything that smacked of charity was for liberal do-gooders.

I love the bit about “smiling butlers,” since nary a butler appears anywhere in Ayn Rand’s fiction, as far I recall. (I searched the Objectivism Research CD-ROM for the term “butler” but came up with no hits.)

Just for the record, I should say that Ayn Rand opposed coercive taxation, advocated limited government, and championed the individual rights of all, including producers. That’s a far cry from “hat[ing] taxation, hat[ing] government, hat[ing] anything that stood in the way of strong people who got what they wanted.” Although I’m not exactly sure how promiscuous pit bull terriers are, none of Ayn Rand’s heroes were “casual and unrestrained in sexual behavior” by any stretch of the imagination.

The article is equally inaccurate in its characterization of capitalism. However, the delicious irony is that its basic point — that the altruism of Christianity is inconsistent with capitalism — is from Ayn Rand herself. But don’t get too excited… it advocates abandoning capitalism for Christianity.

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