Ayn Rand Still Influential
By David Holcberg (September 4, 2003)
Caspar W. Weinberger gets it exactly wrong in his review of Getting It Right, by William F. Buckley Jr. (Forbes Magazine, 09/15/03)
Contrary to Mr. Weinberger's claims, Ayn Rand is still enormously influential almost half a century after she published Atlas Shrugged, in 1957. Some signs of her increased influence: second place (after the Bible) in a 1991 Library of Congress/Book of the Month Club readers' survey of the most influential books; a documentary about Ayn Rand nominated for an Academy Award in 1998; a commemorative stamp issued in 1999 by the U.S. Postal Service in her honor; a subgroup within the American Philosophical Association dedicated to the study of her ideas; new faculty positions specializing in her philosophy of Objectivism; and steadily climbing annual sales of her books that last year, for the first time, reached half-a-million copies.
The reason for Ayn Rand's enduring success, which eludes Mr. Weinberger, is no mystery. Her vision and portrayal of "man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute" have captivated and changed the lives of millions of readers--and will eventually change the course of history, her clueless critics notwithstanding.