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Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soulby Gary Weiss
Synopses & Reviews
A provocative examination of Ayn Rand's ideas and her enormous impact on American culture and politics—from Alan Greenspan to the Tea Party.
Thirty years after her death in March 1982, Ayn Rand's ideas have never been more important. In Ayn Rand Nation, Gary Weiss explores the people and institutions that continue to be heavily influenced by Rand's work, particularly in the current political and economic climate. He covers a wide range of subjects, including veterans of Rands famed “Collective” of the 1950s; her intellectual heir, Leonard Peikoff, and his adversaries; Rand's permeation of the Tea Party and Libertarian movements; the celebrities who have become her fans and media personalities who promote her views, among them Glenn Beck, John Stossel and Rush Limbaugh; the Rand standard-bearer Congressman Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul; and most importantly, Alan Greenspan and Rand's crucial affect on the man who counseled deregulation of financial markets--with lasting consequences for America today.
From The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged to Rand's lesser-known and misunderstood nonfiction books, Gary Weiss examines the impact of Rand's thinking across our culture.
"In this riveting and disturbing inquiry into Ayn Rand's widespread influence on American economics and politics, Weiss (Wall Street Versus America) tackles the history and the present of objectivism, emphasizing its paradoxical return to prominence in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Enshrined in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, Rand's philosophy spawned a cult following that included Alan Greenspan, and whose current purveyors include Glenn Beck, Paul Ryan, and members of the Tea Party. As Weiss details, objectivism is a theory of radical individualism: 'To Rand, the infant's me-centered view of the world is correct, selfishness is right, and altruism is the antithesis of everything decent and moral.' Along with atheism (ignored by many), this view demands that business be completely unregulated, social welfare programs and taxes abolished, and the government, with its support of education, medicine, and infrastructure, rendered nonexistent. Weiss describes how objectivism, aided by wealthy and influential figures, has influenced the deregulation of financial markets, the radicalization of conservative voices, and today's toxic political climate. Despite a good faith effort to understand Rand and her followers, the result reads like a memoir, with Weiss's ample personal commentary, and pays little attention to objectivism's deep philosophical roots. Nonetheless, Weiss poses an important question: will we be a country that values human life and dignity, or one that values only the dollar? Agent: Richard Morris, Janklow and Nesbit." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Thirty years after her death, Ayn Rands ideas have never been more important. Unfettered capitalism, unregulated business, bare-bones government providing no social services, glorification of selfishness, disdain for Judeo-Christian morality—these are the tenets of Rands harsh philosophy.
Now with a new afterword on Rand, Paul Ryan, and the 2012 presidential election, Ayn Rand Nation explores the people and institutions that remain under the spell of the Russian-born novelist. Gary Weiss provides new insights into Rands inner circle in the last years of her life, with revelations of never-before-publicized predictions by Rand that still resonate today. Lastly, Weiss provides a strategy for a renewed national dialogue, an embrace of the nations core values that is needed to deal with Rands pervasive grip on society.
From The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged to Rands lesser-known and misunderstood nonfiction books, Gary Weiss examines the impact of Rand's thinking across our society.
About the Author
Gary Weiss is a journalist and the author of two books probing the underside of finance, Wall Street Versus America and Born to Steal. He was an award-winning investigative reporter for BusinessWeek, and his articles have appeared in Condé Nast Portfolio, Parade magazine, Salon, and The New York Times, among other publications. He lives in New York City.
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