Life and Legacy of Ayn Rand

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photoOn the eve of the centenary of her birth, novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand, author of the perennial best-sellers "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead," remains remarkably resonant in American politics and culture.

Rand was born in St. Petersberg on February 2nd, 1905 and died in New York in 1982. But her belief in the virtue of selfishness and her disdain for altruism as the road to mediocrity continue to beguile armies of readers every year, including such Washington powerbrokers as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Her heroes strive against all odds, the society at large and the forces that would hold their talent down. An unapologetic obsession with the self is at the heart of Rand's philosophy and what keeps so many millions of readers flocking to her books.

Hear about the radical individualism of Ayn Rand and its resonance in today's American politics, 100 years after her birth.


Scott McLemee, essayist-at-large for the online publication Inside Higher He writes reviews and essays on politics and culture. In 1999, he wrote "The Heirs of Ayn Rand: Has Objectivism Gone Subjective?" for Lingua Franca.

Edward Hudgins, executive director of the Objectivist Center, an advocacy group dedicated to principles of objectivism, the philosophy developed by Ayn Rand

James Sterba, professor of philosophy, University of Notre Dame

Barbara Branden, intimate friend and colleague of Ayn Rand for 18 years and a close friend of the members of the "Rand Circle." She is author of "The Passion of Ayn Rand"

Jack Beatty, "On Point" news analyst and a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly.

This program aired on February 1, 2005.


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