Ayn Rand is a cult figure in American politics. Her work is often cited as some sort of evidence of the benefits of selfish living (by professed Christians, no less) and she herself is viewed as the goddess of capitalism. One of our Supreme Court Justices even requires his staff to watch a Rand film. However, there is a stark reality behind the myth of Ayn Rand: she didn’t live the life she revered.
British artist Darryl Cunningham has written a 63-page comic biography that charts Rand’s life. Cunningham:
All her life, Rand portrayed herself as a self-created woman whose success came about entirely through her own indomitable will… yet she was helped by many people during those early years. She stayed with her relatives in Chicago for six months. She failed to repay, or even offer to repay, small loans given to her… None of this help was acknowledged by Rand in her later years.
She trumpeted the virtue of reason over emotion, but was unable to rise above jealousy and was unforgiving towards anyone she believed had slighted her. She held an individual’s freedom above all else, yet ran her immediate circle of friends like a small dictatorship….
Some inconvenient Randian truths that have been exposed over the years, with many explored in the new comic:
- Rand received Social Security and Medicare under the name of Ann O’Connor.
- Rand portrays herself as “self-created” but the fact is, she lived with relatives for six months while she was building her career.
- She voted for Democratic president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
- Rand frequently borrowed from friends and family money that she neither repaid or offered to repay.
- Rand worked on a movie script glorifying the Atomic Bomb.
- Rand was actually personally a bit repulsive according to writer Tobias Wolff.
- Rand admired serial killer William Edward Hickman.
- Rand said that a female president would be “unspeakable.”
- Ayn Rand followers, the so-called Objectivists, started a Kickstarter program to fund the third part of the Atlas Shrugged trilogy…with altruism (a Randian no-no).
The fact is, Ayn Rand was a writer, an author, a creative…a creator of imaginary scenarios and realities. Her words were compelling — in print AND in speech. We’re good with words, we writers. We’re often better with words than we are with…life. That’s what writers do. It doesn’t mean that we are prophets and that our words and stories should be taken as a sort of gospel or guide to living. If that were true, why not make Harry Potter’s world our reality? Or Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles? Or Stephen King’s seductive Boo’ya Moon in Lisey’s Story. All of these are compelling worlds and their strangeness sucks us in as much as their scariness does.
That’s the world that Ayn Rand invites us to. Unfortunately, it remains the same as the worlds mentioned above: a fantasy world. Not a real place. A place that has never existed and a place that has been shown to not be workable. It really raises the hair on the back of one’s neck to think that the people who are making decisions about our lives are mentally existing in this fantasy world.
Want to see some of our “leaders” writhing at Ayn Rand’s feet?
See Ted Cruz read from Rand’s Atlas Shrugged:
Rand Paul discusses Galt’s Gulch:
Paul Ryan, who makes Rand books required reading by his staff, says that “we are living in an Ayn Rand novel”:
All of these guys run their campaigns on a Christian platform, but one has to ask the question: “Who are they worshiping?” If it’s self-proclaimed atheist Ayn Rand, they are without a doubt worshiping a false prophet. They are taking an imaginary world and trying to apply it to real human existence. Time to grow up, boys. We aren’t living in a novel. This is the real world, with real people’s lives you’re playing with, and Ayn Rand was a fraud. She didn’t live her own principles. At all.
Oh, did I mention that the comic is available online for free? Giving something away? The evil of altruism? That’s what the story of her life is worth? Ayn Rand is likely rolling over in her sad, lonely grave. Poetic justice.