Category Archives: Media Citings

Ayn Rand on cover of National Review

The new issue of National Review (dated August 30, 2010) has a hit piece cover story about Ayn Rand, written by Jason Lee Steorts. The cover says “Ayn Rand Reconsidered: A Greatness Stunted by Hate.” The editorial blurb says “The Greatly Ghastly Rand. In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand looked out and showed us the world of men as she sees them. And she sees them viciously.”

Ayn Rand: The Wired Interview

From the introduction at

I’m a month late on this, for the spotlight of public attention, but I have an Ayn Rand story, too. 11 years ago I blind-pitched Wired magazine an ill-defined article on Rand. In response, they asked me to write an “interview” with her, where I would come up with all of the questions and then cobble together her answers from things that she had written and said (she died in 1982). Fun! Around the same time, they published similar “interviews” with Nicola Tesla and Mark Twain under the rubric “The Wired Living Archive.”

I had a great time researching and writing it, and although they never published it, they must have seen something they liked in it because I started working at Wired the following year. Meanwhile I never did anything with it. But re-reading it now, I like the added time-trip aspect of it. The idea of the article was to make Rand relevant to the current day, of course, but things were different in 1998. Like, the biggest newsmaker was Monica Lewinsky (hmm… I didn’t see much 10th Anniversary coverage of that), and personally, things like the Critical Mass bicycle demonstration had a much larger role in my life than they do today.

Rand was a contradiction-filled woman who hated all contradictions, and whatever fiery, petite actress can succeed in bringing this complex character to life, in the inevitable major studio biopic, is pretty much guaranteed an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Meanwhile, here’s my attempt at bringing Ms. Rand to life.

Note that it’s long– over 4000 words, and written for an editor to cut down. Sources for all quotations are noted as abbreviations inline, with full titles listed at the end.

See the full interview for much more.

John Stossel may kick off his new Fox News show with Atlas Shrugged

From an interesting new interview with John Stossel about his new show on Fox News:

Stossel. How did you come up with that name?

They just sprung it on me.

Tell me a little bit about what the show is going to be.

It will be one subject. The first subject will be maybe Atlas Shrugged or global warmingâ??Atlas Shrugged because I think 50 years ago, Ayn Rand predicted today. It sort of sums up what Iâ??m going to be reporting about.

Ayn Rand predicted what?

Big government, nice-sounding legislation like â??The Preservation of Livelihood Law,â? which mandated that Hank Reardenâ??s production must not be bigger than any other steel mill, to make it a level playing field. Itâ??s silly.

Is that a new law passed by this Congress?

No, but itâ??s what Wesley Mouch, the evil bureaucrat in the book, passed. And what Tim Geithner and what Barney Frank might like to pass.

See the full interview for more.

Reason TV interviews Atlasphere founder Joshua Zader about Ayn Rand’s legacy

Reason TV just published a video interview with me titled “Dating in the Atlasphere.”

In the interview, I discuss how the Atlasphere was founded, why Ayn Rand’s legacy is so important, and my own ideas about applying Objectivism to one’s personal life.

The footage is actually from last year, but they delayed publication so they could publish it together with their many other interviews (this week and last week) addressing Ayn Rand’s legacy.

If you have comments, feel free to leave those over on my blog.

New York Times Book Review covers Anne C. Heller’s new Ayn Rand biography

The New York Times Book Review has given front-cover treatment to a review of Anne Heller’s new Rand biopic.

In response, Atlasphere member Don Hauptman penned the following letter to the editor:

To the Editor:

Adam Kirsch, in his review of Anne Hellerâ??s biography of Ayn Rand (Nov. 1), commits far too many serious mistakes than can be refuted in a brief letter. So letâ??s consider just one:

â??Giving up her [Randâ??s] royalties to preserve her vision is something that no genuine capitalist, and few popular novelists, would have done. It is the act of an intellectual, of someone who believes that ideas matter more than lucre.â?

Kirsch is alleging that one cannot be an advocate of capitalism and retain oneâ??s integrity. In fact, of course, writers and other creative professionals are also businesspeople who like to earn money. Yet such individuals can and do act ethicallyâ??by turning down contracts and assignments and commissions and their attendant revenuesâ??if acceptance would compromise their principles. Kirschâ??s bizarre implication that one must either be a prostitute or an â??intellectualâ? is misguided and fallacious.

Integrity as the highest value of the creator-capitalist is one of the major themes of Randâ??s classic novel â??The Fountainhead.â? Perhaps Kirsch should have read it. Or, failing that, simply exercised some common sense.

New York

Ayn Rand on The Daily Show, with Jon Stewart

Jennifer Burns, author of the new Rand biography Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, was interviewed last night on The Daily Show.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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Diana Hsieh offers a good analysis of the interview from an Objectivist’s perspective, and I agree with her when she says, “That’s the kind of interview that will intrigue people about Ayn Rand’s ideas. Given what might have happened in that interview, I count it as a huge win.”

Burns did a very, very nice job in this interview. WOW.

We’re in the process of lining up an interview with Ms. Burns, for publication shortly after we review her new book for our columns section. Stay tuned.

Ayn Rand in TIME magazine

From an article in TIME, pre-dated to October 12, 2009:

She knew how to make an entrance. Her dark hair cut in a severe pageboy, Ayn Rand would sweep into a room with a long black cape, a dollar-sign pin on her lapel and an ever present cigarette in an ivory holder. Melodramatic, yes, but Rand didn’t have time to be subtle. She had millions of people to convert to objectivism, her philosophy of radical individualism, limited government and avoidance of altruism and religion. Her adoring followers–some called them a cult–revered her as the high priestess of laissez-faire capitalism until her death in 1982 at age 77.

The bad economy has been good news for Rand’s legacy. Her fierce denunciations of government regulation have sent sales of her two best-known novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, soaring. Yet her me-first brand of capitalism has been excoriated for fomenting the recent financial crisis. And her most famous former acolyte–onetime Fed chairman Alan Greenspan–has been blamed for inflating the housing bubble by refusing to intervene in the market.


See the full article, “Ayn Rand: Extremist or Visionary?” for more. Its factual accuracy seems sketchy in places, but that’s par for the course.

Washington Times BOOK REVIEW: Why Ayn Rand Is Hot Again

Review of Jennifer Burns’s Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand And The American Right by Reason Senior Editor Brian Doherty in The Washington Times:

Why is Rand, dead since 1982, so hot again today?  Ironically, big government, one of Rand’s betes noires, is stimulating her sales.  Her more than 1,000-page 1957 novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” sold 25 percent more copies in the first half of this year than it sold in all of last year, shipping a total of 300,000 copies so far this year – tremendous success for a 52-year-old novel.

Readers and pundits alike look at America and see a world scarily reminiscent of Rand’s government-choked dystopia in “Atlas.”  It’s a world with a struggling economy where political pull matters more than success in the free market, where the government blithely takes over huge transportation industries.

You can read the rest here.

The New York Times Profiles Objectivist CEO John Allison

A mostly favorable and long (6 pages) profile of Objectivist and former BB&T CEO (current Chairman) John Allison from Sunday’s New York Times: 

Over much of the last four decades, John A. Allison IV built BB&T from a local bank in North Carolina into a regional powerhouse that has weathered the economic crisis far better than many of its troubled rivals â?? largely by avoiding financial gimmickry.

And in his spare time, Mr. Allison travels the country making speeches about his bankâ??s distinctive philosophy.

Speaking at a recent convention in Boston to a group of like-minded business people and students, Mr. Allison tells a story: A boy is playing in a sandbox, only to have his truck taken by another child.  A fight ensues, and the boyâ??s mother tells him to stop being selfish and to share.

â??You learned in that sandbox at some really deep level that itâ??s bad to be selfish,â? says Mr. Allison, adding that the mother has taught a horrible lesson.  â??To say man is bad because he is selfish is to say itâ??s bad because heâ??s alive.â?

If Mr. Allisonâ??s speech sounds vaguely familiar, itâ??s because itâ??s based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand, who celebrated the virtues of reason, self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism while maintaining that altruism is a destructive force.  In Ms. Randâ??s world, nothing is more heroic â?? and sexy â?? than a hard-working businessman free to pursue his wealth.  And nothing is worse than a pesky bureaucrat trying to restrict business and redistribute wealth.

- Intro to “Give BB&T Liberty, But Not A Bailout”, The New York Times, August 2