I never got around to reading Atlas Shrugged…and I don’t think I ever will, but I have read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. It was required reading back in my architecture school days. The lead character in Rand’s novel is Howard Roark, a young independent-minded architect who refuses to compromise in his work and designs his buildings in his unique style of modern architecture. He blows up one of his buildings rather than see it altered in any way. It is classic Rand in her depiction of individualism over collectivism.
Well here’s bit of interesting info which has been floating around for a few days now. It involves Ayn Rand and her actions after discovering she had lung cancer.
An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand’s law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand’s behalf she secured Rand’s Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O’Connor (husband Frank O’Connor).
As Pryor said, “Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out” without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn “despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently… She didn’t feel that an individual should take help.”
But alas she did and said it was wrong for everyone else to do so. Apart from the strong implication that those who take the help are morally weak, it is also a philosophic point that such help dulls the will to work, to save and government assistance is said to dull the entrepreneurial spirit.
In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.
So Ayn Rand was a welfare mooch…well, kind of. The point here is that Rand was vocal in her opposition of government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Yet when the time came when she could benefit from these same programs, she did so…in secrecy.
In the end, the queen of individual rights and limited government and staunch opponent of the welfare state, turned out to be nothing more than your common, everyday hypocrite.
“There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction.” ~Ayn Rand
…unless your name is Ayn Rand…err, Ann O’Connor.