Barbara Branden

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Everything posted by Barbara Branden

  1. Jerry Biggers wrote: "I fondly recall a presidential campaign address that he gave at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago in the fall of 1972. It took a lot of guts for him to agree to be the first Presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, which certainly would have been looked upon disapprovingly by his academic peers. It certainly did not advance his status among fellow academics (although by that time, he was already well-established and was Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Southern California). He also authored Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy for Tomorrow around that time." Jerry, despite his many accomplishments and his remarkable gifts as a teacher who was beloved by his students, John paid dearly for his espousal of libertarianism. He was forced to retire from USC at the age of 65. There was no question in his mind that his dismissal was the result of his political convictions. (Other teachers of the same age were not compelled to retire.) John loved teaching above all else, and it broke his heart to have to abandon it. It was a pain that never went away, and he would often refer to it as the great tragedy of his life. But he was not forgotten. James Kilbourne and I hosted a party for John on the occasion of his 90th birthday, and I made it known in advance that words of congratulation could be e-mailed to me, to be read to John at the party. E-mails poured in, not just from friends and colleagues but from John's students from 30, 40, 50 years ago, thanking him for the inestimable value this brilliant and caring man had contributed to their lives. Barbara
  2. Good grief! I've rarely heard such gibberish. The whole thing is almost completely unintelligible. It sounds as if the present recession -- and the abysmal state of the worlld in general -- was caused by Ayn's disastrously mistaken view of computers, by her insistence that they would make government and government regulations unnecessary and would turn us all into "Randian heroes." This is, or course, utter nonsense.. Ayn had no such view of computers. In fact , she had no view of computers at all. She died before they had begun to be a part of our daily lives. I doubt if she ever saw a computer, much less used one or philosophized about their effects. By the way. if parts of what I said made no sense, it's because you were hearing excerpts from my answers but not the questions I was answering. For the record, I do not believe that we don't need other people in our lives, that we can be perfectly happy totally alone. Nor did Rand believe it. Barbara .
  3. [ Michael, you say you don't care whether Obama takes back his statements about Israel or not. If, as you have said, you stand with Israel, I think you don't fully grasp what Obama is demanding-- or you would care very much indeed. Obama is flying in the face of the commitments of American administrations for more than 60 years, and is demanding that Israel sit down with enemies who deny its right to exist, in order to negotiate the precise manner of its suicide. Please, read the Pajamas comment:'s statement And read the Israel Nationsl News comment: You say that the only thing that concerns you is whether this is going to lead to war. It may do so -- if Israel refuses to allow Jews to undergo a new Holocaust. Who, then, will be to blame for the bloodshed? Barbara
  4. This pretty well sums up my feelings, but there are different kinds of innocence. I think the innocence you are talking about here is the innocence fostered and made possible by both ignorance and a giant country buffered by the two major oceans. Aside from the lives lost on 9/11 and consequent to that, that ignorance is purblind superficiality by a populace that refuses to see and understand the world they are living in absent the needed critical thinking and education. How many Americans can make a coherent statement about Marines killing Filipinos over a hundred years ago in a pacification campaign that washed over high multiples of 10,000 murdered people? The expansionist imperialistic impulse that has informed Americans and America since the beginning pushed through to the Pacific Ocean and kept on going to these very days. It is not the imperialism of ancient Rome or the British Empire or European colonialism, it is the imperialism of power and self-justifying pat-ourselves-on-the-back-for-we-are-the-good-guys making-the-world-a-better-place. The push-back on American power has just begun as the interior weakens. That's all it ever has been--power relationships. Power pushes against power until it has no power to push further, then countervailing power creates temporary stasis between countries or regions and the readjustments begin. --Brant it's about freedom when we talk about freedom and individual rights knowing what we are talking about Brant, by American innocence, I was referring to a phenomenon I became aware of not many years after I moved here from Canada. I was referring to the fact that Americans, for the most part, did not fully believe in the existence of evil. Unlike Europeans, they had never been enslaved, starved, or terrorized by it, and it seemed to stand in their minds as something not quite real. I found this phenomenon -- which at that time I shared -- both touching, because it told me that Americans themselves tended to be invincibly decent -- and dangerous, because not to recognize the reality of evil is to be helpless to combat it. At most, Americans seemed to believe that evil existed somewhere overseas-- in Nazi Germany or Russia -- but not in America, not in people they knew and dealt with and could understand. And certainly not in the government brought into existence by the wisdom and moral integrity of our Founding Fathers. Over the years, I saw American innocence slowly eroding. For myself, this erosion began as I started reading about the Holocaust, which I had been too young to understand during World War II, and about the Americans who had helped finance Hitler. Particularly, Roosevelt's refusal to grant asylum to the passengers of the St.Louis, the German ship of over 900 Jews fleeing from the Third Reich, had made me understand that good and evil were engaged in a mortal combat and that I had to take sides, that "silence in the face of evil is itself evil." For Americans, I believe the events of 9/11 struck a final blow to the remnants of their innocence. I wish the world were such that this hadn't been necessary. But, of course. . . All this may seem strange coming from someone who is constantly telling Objectivists to be slow in their condemnations, and to be very certain of their ground before ascribing evil intentions to those who disagree with them. But this is not a contradiction. There is nothing worse one can say about a human being than that he is evil; such a damnation should be reserved for the Hitlers and bin Ladens of the world and their fellow travelers - not for our neighbor who believes he should be his brother's keeper. Barbara
  5. Michael, I am more touched by and grateful for your words that I know how to say. Thank you, my dear friend. If I helped you at a bad time in your life, that is a great reward for me. And my thanks to Jerry and Xray and Adam and to all those whose good wishes helped to make this a very happy birthday for me. Barbara
  6. Michael, I cannot understand how you can say that Obama has good intentions for this country in his heart, or that “he sees himself as belonging to the same American family as his political enemies.” Is that the family of Louis Farråkhan, of Bill Ayres, of the Reverend Wright? Is that the family that is selling Israel down the river and sanctioning the terrorist-organized and carefully-coordinated uprisings in the Arab World? This is the man who stands before the American public and tells one barefaced, blatant lie after another -- the man who surrounds himself with and seeks the advice of only the radical left and worse -- the man who pays American taxpayers’ money to subsidize offshore drilling by Brazil, but expects America to continue functioning by the grace of windmills – who is further enslaving the medical doctors on whom our lives depend -- who redistributes the earnings of the producers so that the non-producers will continue to vote for him – the man who is spending and manipulating the greatest country on earth into helplessness and ruin --the man who speaks of ':social justice" " but never of freedom. ... I could go on and on, but you know the facts probably as well as I do. . What on earth would Obama have to do to convince you that he and George Washington do not belong to the same American family-- that he is, at best, a cheap Chicago left-wing politician who cares only that he get re-elected to a position he is grotesquely unequipped for -- yet doesn’t take even that position seriously enough to read Economics 101. Barbara
  7. I have no objection to people celebrating bin Laden's death -- although some of the college kids, too young to have witnessed the horror of 9/11 as it was happening, made me feel uncomfortably as if pretty cheerleaders and a marching band soon would appear -- but as I listened to the news last night and today, I have not felt like celebrating. i am glad that bin Laden is dead; he was a monster who was polluting the earth with his presence. And I have only admiration for the courage and consummate efficiency of the Navy Seals who did the job. But I have been feeling enormous sadness -- not because a cockroach has been stamped on and destroyed, but because it had ever lived, because such evil had breathed the air I breathe and felt the warmth of the same sun. I kept remembering 9/11, the end of whatever innocence Americans had still possessed. I kept remembering, especially, what has remained with me ever since as the scene that captures the essence of that terrible day: individuals and couples holding hands, leaping from their windows in the burning towers. The only real justice the 3,000 victims of 9/11 could receive would be to have their lives restored to them. And that no one can give them. Barbara
  8. Dennis, Anne Heller is correct. There is no reference in Rand's will to Peikoff being her intellectual heir. Barbara
  9. Barbara, your saying this touched me, and reminded me of what had consciously gone through my mind late last week. And which I haven't seen anyone say, and which — even with the intimation of mortality — has to be said: I am delighted that this finally came to the big screen while you — and Nathaniel — were here to see it and to be swept up in it. It should have been possible for the author herself to have been sitting beside the two of you. And now, tomorrow, after my submitting for the time being to the firepower of the State (filing tax returns), I go off to a matinee showing of a movie that exemplifies the opposite. (With the company of Neil Schulman, as it happens.) I'll next post, after my own wait of a mere third of a century, my own reaction. Thank you, Steve. You'll be glad to know that Nathaniel -- who was with me Friday night -- reacted to the movie just as I did. It means a great deal to both of us. And almost the first thing I said to my friends when the movie ended was, :"How I wish Ayn could have seen it!" Barbara
  10. I saw the movie for the second time on Friday. It probably is against the law -- and certainly a sin -- to have as good a time as I had. It was playing in Westwood Village, a college town, and the audience was predominantly young people -- with a mix that was fascinating to me of onetime NBI students. What a strange feeling it was to see so many familiar faces from so very long ago! The house was completely sold out for the 7PM performance that I attended and for the 9:40 performance that followed. It was a joy to see a long line of people waiting to get in for both performances. Clearly, the audience I saw it with loved the movie -- and at the end, the manager came out grinning from ear to ear to announce that it would run for two weeks. After the performance, I stood outside the theater with some friends and with some of the NBI students, and we simply gloated happily and talked about our favorite scenes. None of us wanted to leave. I don't intend to argue with anyone about the movie or to defend it or to think about what may be its deficiencies. What I care about is that I watched the first run of the John Galt Line, and it was not 2011, it was 1950 and I was sitting in Ayn's living room reading the incredible scene in manuscript with tears running down my face -- and the world was a place of limitless possibilities. And that's what it was again on Friday night. And it remains so. Barbara
  11. Robert, Vallant insists here that Rand never threatened to withhold Nathaniel's copyrights to his articles published in The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist. She did indeed. I have a proposed contract which Hank Holzer, Rand's lawyer, sent to Nathaniel's and my lawyer. The proposed contract was to be between The Objectivist and Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, to be signed by Ayn Rand as President of The Objectivist and by Nathaniel and Barbara. (Our lawyer, who was appalled by this contract, also has a copy of it in his files.) It specifies that in return for the assignment to Nathaniel of the copyrights to his articles, we promise not to sue Rand or her associates, and that: “Neither [NB or BB] will in writing, by sound reproduction, or publicly, make or cause to be made any statement or comment concerning the article ‘To Whom It May Concern’ by Ayn Rand and the statement entitled ‘For The Record’ by Allan Blumenthal, Alan Greenspan, Leonard Peikoff and Mary Ann (Rukavina) Sures, both of which appeared in the May 1968 issue of The Objectivist.” And: “Neither will in writing, by sound reproduction, or publicly, make or cause to be made any derogatory statement concerning either’s personal, professional or business relationship prior to the date hereof with Ayn Rand O’Connor, Frank O’Connor, Henry Mark Holzer, Phyllis (Erika) Holzer, Charles Sures, Mary Ann (Rukavina) Sures, Allan Blumenthal. Joan Blumenthal, Elayne Kalberman, Harry Kalberman, Leonard Peikoff, Alan Greenspan, and The Objectivist, Inc.” In other words, in order for Nathaniel to receive his own property, we were to allow ourselves to be attacked and defamed, and in perpetuity were not to say a word in our defense. Barbara
  12. I saw the musical version of Les Miserables on Broadway shortly after it opened. I loved it. As you said, Phl, it was stirring, moving, and powerful- with a depth and passion one rarely sees on Broadway. For the tenth anniversary of the musical, at its conclusion, seventeen Jean Valjeans from seventeen different countries where it was being performed, came on stage to sing "Do You hear the People Sing? It was thrilling. Barbara
  13. Hi, Mary Lee. I share your wish that there were a similar project underway for Barbara's POET lectures. The transcriptions have been completed for over a year now, and they await Barbara's decision to have them published essentially "as is," or to incorporate them into an expanded book on how and how not to think. If Nathaniel's book of lectures does well, as it appears it will, Cobden Press may have a definite interest in publishing Barbara's lectures as well. We will see. Best for the New Year, REB Roger, the last time we were here was back in May, 2010. Any word about Barbara's publishing plans? Does she think that the book needs a lot of updating? If so, can she get some help from her friends to get it done? Mary, since my family and I moved from SoCal to Tennessee last summer, I have heard very little from Barbara, and nothing in several months. I have not heard that she is seriously ill, and my wife spoke with her a few weeks ago, and she seemed all right over the phone. SO FAR AS I KNOW, there is nothing to report about Barbara's publishing plans. If I hear anything about which I am not sworn to secrecy, rest assured that I will post it here! The original lectures have all been transcribed, so it is really up to Barbara whether she wants to publish them as is, or to revise them first, as well as whether to add some additional material on new, but related topics. She ~was~ interested in having Cobden Press publish her book, since Cobden also published Nathaniel's Vision of Ayn Rand book last year. I don't know what she would need in the way of help we might give her. Becky (my wife) and I discussed several lectures with her, offering suggestions and seeking clarification on some points. But I think that she is simply working on her own time frame, and we will just have to be patient. REB Roger and Mary Lee: My work on the Efficient Thinking lectures has been slowed up both by illness and by other projects that I couldn't pass up.. But part of my brain is always working on the lectures, and as soon as I can, I'll get back to them. Barbara
  14. Atlas Shrugged, Part I, the movie I am delighted, overwhelmed, and stunned. Yesterday, I saw Atlas Shrugged, Part I, the movie. In advance, I was tense and worried. What if it was terrible? In that case, no one would consider a remake for years, if ever. I didn't think it would be terrible, especially after I saw a clip from the film: the scene where Rearden comes home to his family after the first pouring of Rearden Metal. The scene was very good indeed. But. . . . The movie is not so-so, it is not OK, it is not rather good -- it is spectacularly good. I won't go into detail; for this, see David Kelley's review, with which I am in agreement ( -- except that he rather understates the film's virtues. The script is excellent, as is the acting. The music is first rate, and immensely adds to the tension that the action and the tempo of the film create. Visually, it is very beautiful. And wait until you experience the first run of the John Galt Line! The film's greatest virtue is that, from the first moment, one steps into the world of Atlas Shrugged. The writers whose works live across time share an essential characteristic: their unique and personal stamp, their unique and personal spirit, emanates from every page of their writing, and one knows it could have been created by no other sense of life, no other intellect. The literary universe of Dostoievsky, for instance, its tone, its emotional quality, is instantly recognizable and can never be confused with that of Henry James or Victor Hugo or Oscar Wilde or Thomas Wolfe. And so wtih Ayn Rand: one turns the pages of The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged and one has entered a self-consistent new planet, formed in the image of the world view and the values that were hers alone. To a remarkable degree, the movie captures the spirit, the sense of life, that was Ayn Rand's alone. Does it have faults? I suppose so. I could not care less -- and I suspect you won't care either. Barbara
  15. The bottom of the barrel, in my view, was reached when Perigo recently announced that he had cancer. Apparently the most important thing about his diagnosis was not its effect on him or on his friends, not his possibilities for recovery or death -- but the effect the knowledge of hs illness would have on his "enemies." He entitled the announcenment "Good News and Bad News for Brandroids, Pomowankers, Lefties, Goblians. Islamosavages, Headbangers and Humanity-Diminishers!" The text began: "The good news for the aforementioned dregs is: I have cancer. The bad news is: it is eminently curable." I cannot imagine that my major -- or minor -- focus , after learning I had a dangerous disease, would be on its effect on those I considered enemies . And what an admission of his personal psychology in the assumption that we would all be delighted to know that he had cancer. I despise Lindsay Perigo. I do not wish cancer or any other form of disease upon him. If he is to pay for his malice, it should be in spiritual terms, not in the form of disease. I have thought for a long time that Perigo was obsessed, not with positives, not wth values, but with hatred of anyone who opposed him. His incredilbe attitude toward his own illness shows the appalling extent of his sick obsession. Barbara .
  16. Even had their been no break between Rand and Nathaniel, I had known for some time that my days with Rand and NBI were numbered, and that I could not remain much longer. I had seen too much -- too much dogmatism, too much authoritarianism, too much cruelty, too much deceit, too much blind worship of authority figures, too much hatred of those who did not agree with us. After Rand broke with Nathaniel, I felt duty-bound, with Rand's agreement, to attempt to find a way to save NBI without Nathaniel. So a few members of the NBI staff and i worked eighteen hour days to project the financial possibilities of a more modest NBI that I could run. We arrived at a set of figures that proved that to be eminently feasible. But throughout all this intense work, the thought kept pounding in my head, "I don't want it to work! I don't want it to be possible! I want the whole madness to end! -- I want to be through with it all, and free." Barbara
  17. Jerry, an excellent post -- particularly: "Objectivism fulfills for the "orthodox," a chronic need that is also shared by adherents of other "closed" ideological systems and some religions - it is a totalistic system that they are depending upon to fulfill a need in their personalities, in their character. It is complete. It seems to have all the answers, no need to work it out for yourself. But, the ideology itself, is all "window dressing." Instead of Objectivism, it could be a variant of Marxism, or some religious cult. The set of behaviors that these people display has been accurately described and analyzed in Eric Hoffer's The True Believer. Those that have not read that book should pick it up and see how much in common the ARIans have with other "true believers." Hoffer's book is brilliant, and offers the best explanation of what I call the "Fundamentalist Objectivists" that I have ever read. Barbara
  18. Here's a new upload to YouTube. Maybe he gives a different answer every time he's asked whether he's read AS. Do you knows the date of the Charlie Rose interview with Buckley? I'm wondering if, after my book was published -- quoting Buckley as saying he'd never read Atlas -- he decided it was time to read it. He must have heard from a great many people who were appalled that he had incessantly denounced a book he'd never read. Barbara.
  19. Ted wrote: "Marriage is a public act by which a woman pledges to bear a man's children and a man pledges to support her and those children. " Have you attended any marriage ceremonies lately? During my own marriage ceremony, and during the ceremonies of many friends and the children of friends I have attended,-- many of them much more recent than my own -- at no time did the woman pledge to bear the man's children, nor did the man pledge to support her. Perhaps you are thinking of the marriage ceremonies of a particular religion , but not of the state and not of many religions. Barbara
  20. I object to Social Security. Nevertheless, if I receive it at the age of 65, I would object to my 65-year-old neighbor -- who similarly has paid into it all his working life -- arbitrarily being denied it. Similarly, although i believe that in a free society the state would have nothing to do with marriage, which would involve only private contracts and private ceremonies, nevertheless in our society I see no reason why homosexual couples should not he allowed state marriage if such is their choice. Like the rest us, their taxes go to pay for it. Nor do I see any reason why homosexual couples who wish to be married by the state should -- in my view preposterously -- be accused of "an assault on culture," and of wanting to"destroy Rights." Nor do I see that "gay marriage is nothing more than an anti-concept which is being applied to destroy American Culture." Despite the views of what I call "the Fundamentalist Objectivists." not everything we don't like is A Conspiracy Against The Good, and not everyone who disagrees with us is Evil. If homosexuals who want to he married by the state are conspiring against the rest of us -- were we who are married heterosexuals not also Evil Conspirators against America when we were married by the State? When blacks protested the laws that made it impossible for them to marry whites, were they Evil Conspirators hurling around deadly anti-concepts? Yes, there are people in this world-- many people -- who are engaged in destructive conspiracies; there are people who are evil, and there are people who wish to destroy America. But they are not likely to be found in the line-ups of gay and lesbian couples hopefully waiting outside government marriage bureaus, eager to receive the same cultural recognition and sanction for their loving unions that heterosexual couples receive. Barbara
  21. Some people have suggested that he's senile, so maybe he doesn't remember what he said/wrote last month. I just took a quick trip in the TARDIS back to the 1300's, and put the case before William of Ockham. His conclusion was that it's hypocrisy. P.S. The Schick Quattro Titanium is, in fact, his favorite razor. He's always having me bring him replacement cartridges. As we grow older, we become more firmly and openly the person we really are. Leonard Peikoff is not senile. He is merely Leonard Peikoff. Barbara
  22. Tracinski wrpte: "Leonard Peikoff's greatest contribution to Objectivism, in my view, is his identification of the thinking error of 'rationalism,' which consists of putting into practice the philosophical theory that all knowledge is gained by deduction from abstractions, rather than by induction from observation of reality. Peikoff's identification of this erroneous view of reason, including detailed analysis of its symptoms, is an achievement that is experienced by many Objectivists—particularly young men of an intellectual disposition, who are most prone to rationalism—as a form of salvation from error. I regard it as his most important achievement because it is one that people can and do use on a daily basis as a corrective to their thinking." This was decidedly not Peikoff's contribution, except in so far as the error of rationalism was identified as the major source of his difficulties in understanding many of th tenets of Objectivism. The nature, symptoms, and consequences of rationalism were often discussed by Rand and her inner circle as early as the 1950's. (And. of course, it is an error Peikoff has never stopped making.) Barbara
  23. I eagerly turned to this thread, interested to see the reactions to Robert Tracinski's very important and courageous article. Instead, I've predominantly had to wade though an orgy of ridiculous and embarrassing name-calling. Do most of you -- who post to a forum called Objectivist Living -- not think that what Tracinski rightly calls "the suicide of the Objectivist movement" is important enough to comment on? I wonder what you would think important. Is this an intellectual forum or a home for delinquent children -- or perhaps a franchise of Solo? Barbara
  24. Here is an important excerpt from a review of Anne Heller’s Ayn Rand and the World She Made, and Jennifer Burns’ Goddess of the Market. The review is entitled “Who is Ayn Rand?” and is written by Charles Murray. Th excerpt I have chosen is especially interesting, thought provoking, and relevant in view of the McCloskey controversy and Robert Tracinski’s article, “Anthemgate, the Objectivist Movement Commits Suicide.” ------------------------------------------------- Who is Ayn Rand? [by Charles Murray . . . Why then has reading these biographies of a deeply flawed woman—putting it gently—made me want to go back and reread her novels yet again? The answer is that Rand was a hedgehog who got a few huge truths right, and expressed those truths in her fiction so powerfully that they continue to inspire each new generation. They have only a loose relationship with Objectivism as a philosophy (which was formally developed only after the novels were written). Are selfishness and greed cardinal virtues in Objectivism? Who cares? Does Objectivist aesthetics denigrate Bach and Mozart? Who cares? Objectivism has nothing to do with what mesmerizes people about The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. What does mesmerize us? Fans of Ayn Rand will answer differently. Part of the popularity of the books derives from the many ways their themes can be refracted. Here is what I saw in Rand's fictional world that shaped my views as an adolescent and still shapes them 50 years later. First, Rand expressed the glory of human achievement. She tapped into the delight that a human being ought to feel at watching another member of our species doing things superbly well. The scenes in The Fountainhead in which the hero, Howard Roark, realizes his visions of architectural truth are brilliant evocations of human creativity at work. But I also loved scenes like the one in Atlas Shrugged when protagonist Dagny Taggart is in the cab of the locomotive on the first run on the John Galt line, going at record speed, and glances at the engineer: He sat slumped forward a little, relaxed, one hand resting lightly on the throttle as if by chance; but his eyes were fixed on the track ahead. He had the ease of an expert, so confident that it seemed casual, but it was the ease of a tremendous concentration, the concentration on one's task that has the ruthlessness of an absolute. 
That's a heroic vision of a blue-collar worker doing his job. There are many others. Critics often accuse Rand of portraying a few geniuses as the only people worth valuing. That's not what I took away from her. I saw her celebrating people who did their work well and condemning people who settled for less, in great endeavors or small; celebrating those who took responsibility for their lives, and condemning those who did not. That sounded right to me in 1960 and still sounds right in 2010. Second, Ayn Rand portrayed a world I wanted to live in, not because I would be rich or powerful in it, but because it consisted of people I wanted to be around. As conditions deteriorate in Atlas Shrugged, the first person to quit in disgust at Hank Rearden's steel mill is Tom Colby, head of the company union: For ten years, he had heard himself denounced throughout the country, because his was a "company union" and because he had never engaged in a violent conflict with the management. This was true; no conflict had ever been necessary; Rearden paid a higher wage scale than any union scale in the country, for which he demanded—and got—the best labor force to be found anywhere.
 That's not a world of selfishness or greed. It's a world of cooperation and mutual benefit through the pursuit of self-interest, enabling satisfying lives not only for the Hank Reardens of the world but for factory workers. I still want to live there. That world came together in the chapters of Atlas Shrugged describing Galt's Gulch, the chapters I most often reread when I go back to the book. The great men and women who have gone on strike are gathered there, sometimes working at their old professions, but more often being grocers and cabbage growers and plumbers, because that's the niche in which they can make a living. In scene after scene, Rand shows what such a community would be like, and it does not consist of isolated individualists holding one another at arm's length. Individualists, yes, but ones who have fun in one another's company, care about one another, and care for one another—not out of obligation, but out of mutual respect and spontaneous affection. 
* * * 
Ayn Rand never dwelt on her Russian childhood, preferring to think of herself as wholly American. Rightly so. The huge truths she apprehended and expressed were as American as apple pie. I suppose hardcore Objectivists will consider what I'm about to say heresy, but hardcore Objectivists are not competent to judge. The novels are what make Ayn Rand important. Better than any other American novelist, she captured the magic of what life in America is supposed to be. The utopia of her novels is not a utopia of greed. It is not a utopia of Nietzschean supermen. It is a utopia of human beings living together in Jeffersonian freedom. About the Author Charles Murray is the W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of such important books as Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, which discussed th disasters of he American welfare system; The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structrue in American Life; Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in h Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950; and the forthcoming Coming Apart at the Seams, about racism in America since Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Barbara