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.