ALISSA ROSENBAUM AND ME

…otherwise known as AYN RAND.

She was born in 1905 into a Jewish family in czarist Russia. She survived World War 1 and the Bolshevik Revolution. Very bright, as a little girl she liked to read heroic novels and came to admire those who  dared defy the timid. In his book, AYN RAND, James Baker said  that at age 13 she became an atheist.

“.. in long conversations with her family during this period of confusion and danger she came to the conclusion that the idea of God who dictates his will to man and demands that man humble himself to his presence, is degrading to man and antithetical to the image of man as hero.”

When the communists took over her father’s business and left her family impoverished, she came to hate collectivism. What ‘s interesting here, is that during the Cold War struggle between  ‘godly capitalism and godless communism’  she stood on shaky middle ground.

Baker said, “….She was the oddest bird, ” Somehow she came to believe that religion and communism were ‘brothers under the skin’. In one, man was inferior to god. In the other, inferior to the state.

She graduated from a Russian university. There will be many here what hate this powerful truth: Russia had one of the finest  public school systems in the world. Her family may have been poor but she received the best possible education. Free.

In 1926 she went to Hollywood and worked in the film industry. She wrote the Fountainhead which featured one of my favorite human beings, Frank Lloyd Wright , the architect. I keep a picture of Fallingwater  on a bulletin board above my desk. I like the outside better than the inside.

I could continue with a thumbnail sketch of AYN-her biographers have done an excellent job-but I think the words one leaves behind are often times more important than the ideas other people had about you. And dates are just date. I also think it wise to quote one’s most dedicated critics as well-gives everybody room to wiggle.  When Ayn became a philosopher, an exponent of Objectivism- dedicated to individualism and capitalism- some called her followers members of a cult. Alan Greenspan was a member. Remember him? Psychiatrist  Albert Ellis branded her ideas ‘not a liberation from religion but a substitute’. Aren’t we back for an-up-to-date moment to the disgusting Christian Fellowship clan? The Family? The christian mafia? I wonder what she’d make of these odd birds?

I think I’ll stick to the quotes. Do you know she once called the Christian cross a torture symbol? And sometimes denounced William Buckley for combining capitalism and Christianity.

“That something happened to you is of no importance to anyone, not even to you. The important thing about you is what you choose to make happen-your values and choices. that which happened by acident-what family you were born into, in what country, and where you went to school-is totally unimportant,” she said.

Perhaps. Perhaps. But I think many of our choices came about because of ‘accidents’ that happened in our past. I’d love to have met the lady.

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