Ayn Rand's Legacy of Reason and Freedom
October 1, 2007
IRVINE, CA--The 50th anniversary of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged on October 10 is an occasion to celebrate her legacy of defending reason and freedom, according to Michael S. Berliner, former executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.
Although she was born and raised in Russia, she became a truly American writer and philosopher. Her philosophy of reason and individual liberty is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the mysticism and tyranny that permeated her country of birth.
In 1926 she managed to escape the oppression of the USSR. Inspired by the skyscrapers in American films and taking the United States as her symbol of civilization, she came to America that year to stay. Sales of her first film scenario, play and novel in the 1930s launched her career. Her first best-seller, The Fountainhead, was published in 1943 and has become an American classic.
In 1957, her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged was published. In it she dramatized her philosophy, soon to be named "Objectivism." Her philosophy of reason, egoism and individual rights has changed many people’s lives: a survey by the Library of Congress placed Atlas Shrugged as second only to the Bible as the most influential book in readers’ lives.
Ayn Rand was unique. Writing best-selling novels with inspiring characters and intriguing plots, or creating a new philosophic system would justify anyone's fame. Ayn Rand did both. With virtues that matched the individualistic heroes of her novels, she emerged as a thinker who did not fall into any of the traditional categories. She was not a conservative, a liberal, an anarchist or a libertarian. Politically, she was a radical for capitalism; in fundamental philosophy, she was a champion of reason, selfishness and the individual's happiness on earth.
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