January 15, 2007


Ayn Rand No Longer Has Script Approval (KIMBERLY BROWN, 1/14/07, NY Times)

BACK in the 1970s Albert S. Ruddy, the producer of "The Godfather," first approached Ayn Rand to make a movie of her novel "Atlas Shrugged." But Rand, who had fled the Soviet Union and gone on to inspire capitalists and egoists everywhere, worried aloud, apparently in all seriousness, that the Soviets might try to take over Paramount to block the project.

"I told her, 'The Russians aren't that desperate to wreck your book,' " Mr. Ruddy recalled in a recent interview.

The interesting this is how Soviet the novel is: grey, blocky, unlovely, doctrinaire, and devoid of decency.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 15, 2007 11:25 AM

You left out the 100 page long socio-politcal and economic diatribe that brings the plot to a constipated halt.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 15, 2007 12:10 PM


And yet in your two reviews of her novels you generally made very complimentary statements about her and her work. I've also noticed you commended Barry Goldwater for his pro-choice positions on abortion.

What I trying to say is that I'm curious whether you consider your mind changed on this stuff since you wrote those words.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 15, 2007 12:23 PM

Rand, in the words of Flannery O'Connor, pushed as hard as the age that pushed against her. And Anthem is her best book. She should be read as a matter of historical interest, not because the novels are any good. I haven't reviewed the others because I'd have to reread them and only single young white men read them at all. Yes, with every year older you get, every date, every year of marriage, every kid, etc. you grow less libertarian, unless you're an arrested adolescent and too self-absorbed to grow up.

I don't recall saying that Goldwater's pro-abortion position was good, merely that he held it.

Posted by: oj at January 15, 2007 1:44 PM

Didn't they already make this movie, where all the productive members of society disappear...Wasn't it called A Day Without A Mexican?

Posted by: H.D. Miller at January 15, 2007 2:11 PM

Though one may have to make exceptions from time to time, the adage "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is appropriate in the case of Rand.

Her book often does more to shake those steeped in collectivism from their positions, where they are then susceptible to reason.

You seem just as doctrinaire as Rand when it comes to cutting people any slack. If the question is one whether one's impact was more negative or positive, Rand deserves credit for moving more people in the correct direction.

If either Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged was assigned to every high school grad going on to college, the level of innoculation against the idiot left would be insurmountable.

On the other hand, given the atrocious education even college bound American kids are getting, I suppose the shorter "Anthem" may be a better choice all around.

Posted by: Bruno at January 15, 2007 2:38 PM

You're accusing OJ of being doctrinaire after the tantrums you had going into the election Bruno? Words fail me.....

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at January 15, 2007 2:44 PM


All readers of Ayn Rand are pubescent white males. She's an effect, not a cause.

Posted by: oj at January 15, 2007 3:46 PM

I'll bet Mike Myers could make a go of it.

Posted by: ratbert at January 15, 2007 4:15 PM

"All readers of Ayn Rand are pubescent white males."

In my experience it's young women in their teens and twenties who rate Ayn Rand as a favorite. She's been recommended to me several times by women and she is regularly featured as a favorite author by females on MySpace.


Posted by: tsol at January 15, 2007 5:03 PM

Their first boyfriend makes them read it, especially The Fountainhead...

Posted by: oj at January 15, 2007 5:11 PM

My Mom read and liked Rand when I was a kid, and it wasn't because of my Dad.

Bruno: Hear, hear.

Posted by: PapayaSF at January 15, 2007 5:35 PM


As I recall, Allan Bloom said it was the females in his classes who would frequently mention Ayn Rand when asked about books that had made an impression on them.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 15, 2007 5:57 PM


Just browsed over your Rand reviews and it all appears reasonably consistent with your explanations about the importance of the philosophy as opposed to the books themselves.

Here's what you said about Goldwater:

[Goldwater] will not really get his due until the next century when his essentially libertarian philosophy becomes the governing norm in American politics. Either the Republican Party will accept that the same ideas that lead them to insist on political and economic liberty must also apply to social issues like homosexuality, abortion and the like, or else a third party will arise, espousing these ideals.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 15, 2007 7:45 PM

Yes, I think that's where politics is likely headed. Conservatives need to convince people that abortion, homosexuality, etc. are morally wrong rather than count on them being outlawed again.

Restricting them is consistent with republican liberty, which is something I understand better now than I did those years ago. But I'm still dubious that we can do so long term.

I do disagree with what I wrote in one particular area. I think demographic shifts--the decline of Blue America and the importation of Mexican Christians may mean that the American future will be one of fairly conservative liberty rather than freedom. That would be my hope at any rate.

Posted by: oj at January 15, 2007 8:02 PM

Females at the University of Chicago. I rest my case.

Posted by: oj at January 15, 2007 9:43 PM


Yes, it was.

Posted by: oj at January 15, 2007 9:44 PM