Our new Atlas Society “Draw My Life” video, this one on Ayn Rand, has gone viral with half a million views on Facebook and climbing. Written, illustrated and narrated (in Russian accent no less) by Atlas Society CEO Jennifer Grossman, it has attracted not only admirers but also flushed some Rand-haters out of the woodwork, with some bizarre comments. Here are five examples below.
1) “Everything that women [Ayn Rand] wrote is gobblygook, she was a soviet” according to Scott Bottorff from Nashville.
The over 7 million copies of Atlas Shrugged sold and 6.5 million of The Fountainhead sold--out of a total of over 30 million books by Ayn Rand sold--would seem to refute that subjective comment. Calling Rand a “Soviet”? The opposite is in fact true. As the video shows, she fled to America because she was a hardcore anti-Soviet and spent the rest of her life warning others about the dangers of communism and collectivism of all forms.
2) Ayn Rand “finally committed suicide,” also according to Scott Bottorff.
Huh?? Ayn Rand, rather, passed away in 1982 of natural causes; she was 77 years old at a time when the average longevity rate that year was 74 years old.
3) “The irony in her only being able to write her books about selfishness because her husband was working and paying her bills for her is MINDBLOWING” another poster, Kaleb Zemke, suggests.
Rand arrived in America, worked in Hollywood, earning her living by writing scripts and plays, and, later, grew rich writing her popular novels. Her husband Frank O’Connor was a struggling actor, earning his way during those Hollywood years. But after Rand became prosperous, Frank was able to focus on his own love of art without worrying about what fees he could earn -- Ayn Rand was the breadwinner in that household. But by the way, even if her husband did support her financially -- what is wrong with that?
4) Carol Rak from Chicago called Ayn Rand “a pig and only interested in herself....She was a loathe some [sic] person and unless you are a part of the 1%, she despised you and everything the government ever gave you.”
Rand, of course, did not despise the poor -- her ideal man, Howard Roark, the hero of The Fountainhead, lived years in poverty breaking rocks in a quarry rather than compromising his integrity. Her other hero, John Galt, of Atlas Shrugged, left his job as a high-paid engineer rather than live by socialist values. On a more personal level, as the video shows, when Rand came to the United States in 1925 she was poor. Her family’s modest wealth, earned by her father as a pharmacist in Russia, had been seized by the Communists. In America, Rand earned her fortune. And that was one of the great things she loved about this country: the freedom to prosper through one’s own efforts. What she despised was the unearned.
5) “In her old age…(Ayn Rand) needed the money and freely cashed her monthly social security check. She explained that since she had the knowledge that these checks for the poor were wrong, however, since she was aware of the evils of giving these checks to the poor, it was ok for her to cash them for herself.” So Carol Rak also offers.
Regarding Social Security—as with all Americans today—the government forced Rand to turn over part of her earnings to the Social Security Ponzi scheme. Rand didn’t need the money, she was just recovering some of her stolen property.
Kelley, Cohen, et al, Myths about Ayn Rand: Popular Errors and the Insights They Conceal. 2013.