Thursday, February 09, 2006

Ayn Rand: her Left Libertarian legacy

I’m still playing catch-up.

Roderick Long posted a terrific piece last Thursday about Ayn Rand's legacy for Left Libertarians. [Hey! You! Yeah, you in the back! No, not you with the, with the glasses and the “Leonard Peikoff Rocks!” tee-shirt. Yeah, you! Shut the hell up a minute till I share Rod’s remarks!]

Anyway, Roderick admits that Rand is “easily viewed as decidedly right-leaning”; note her support for American militarism, her defense of big business as a “persecuted minority,” her anti-feminism, and her favorite author being Mickey Spillane. (Gotta confess here — I’ve enjoyed Spillane, too.) Long attributes Rand’s conservatism to her “understandably hostile reaction to the Soviet environment in which she was raised.” But he adds that “there is another side to Rand’s legacy that should not be lost sight of. ... [I]f we leave aside the influence of anti-Soviet sentiment and simply consider in what direction a radical, contextual-analysis-oriented, secular, individualist, anti-traditionalist, anti-sacrificial libertarian ethic is most naturally developed — it’s left-libertarianism, man.”

Somewhere, is Howard Roark smiling?
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