Oct 192010

The new site Objectivist Answers has really taken off since its launch: it now has over 120 questions, over 230 answers, and countless comments and votes from a steady stream of visitors!

One of the questions is asked by “seehafer“:

Did Ayn Rand have something against children?

They aren’t mentioned, except in passing, in Atlas Shrugged.

Objectivist Answers user “rationaljenn” offers the following answer:

Though children did not figure prominently in any of her novels, that does not imply that Ayn Rand was hostile toward children or family.

Consider this passage from Atlas Shrugged, referring to two children being raised in the Gulch, by a woman who has chosen to move her family to a place so that she can raise her children as she wants to:

The recaptured sense of her [Dagny's] own childhood kept coming back to her whenever she met the two sons of the young woman who owned the bakery shop. . . . They did not have the look she had seen in the children of the outer world–a look of fear, half- secretive, half-sneering, the look of a child’s defense against an adult, the look of a being in the process of discovering that he is hearing lies and of learning to feel hatred. The two boys had the open, joyous, friendly confidence of kittens who do not expect to get hurt, they had an innocently natural, non-boastful sense of their own value and as innocent a trust in any stranger’s ability to recognize it, they had the eager curiosity that would venture anywhere with the certainty that life held nothing unworthy of or closed to discovery, and they looked as if, should they encounter malevolence, they would reject it contemptuously, not as dangerous, but as stupid, they would not accept it in bruised resignation as the law of existence.

When I think of how I want to raise my own children, I always think of creating an environment and parenting them in a way so that they can recognize their own value, and have the “open, joyous and friendly confidence of kittens” that these two fictional children described above possess. I think this passage shows Ayn Rand’s benevolence toward children and family. Though she did not choose to have children of her own (lots of people don’t!) and didn’t choose to write books about or for children (lots of authors don’t!), I have never viewed her as hostile to children and family.

For more on this subject, see my posts Mythbusting: Ayn Rand, Mommies and Children and More from Ayn Rand about Childhood.

If you liked that answer, please go vote for it to make it more visible to the world while sending rationaljenn some well-deserved OA “karma.” (And if you think she has missed something important, that’s fine too: you can add a comment to that effect, or contribute a whole new answer of your own!)

Objectivist Answers is an exciting new online resource where anybody can ask questions of Objectivists, and any Objectivist can answer! Please visit with your questions, answers, or both!

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