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Getting Ayn Rand Right

Getting Ayn Rand Right

3 Mins
August 28, 2012

 "Ayn Rand defended individual freedom" is the newest in exasperated articles calling out mainstream journalists for their misrepresentation of Ayn Rand and her ideas. The item is by Amanda Carey and Justin Lesniewski and it appears at

DoubleThink Online , a magazine of America's Future Foundation . TAS readers may remember Justin Lesniewski as the intern on the set of Atlas Shrugged Part 2  who gained his position at the movie by way of an essay contest.

In the context of Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as a vice-presidential running mate, The Atlas Society's release of an audio of Paul Ryan at a 2005 celebration of Ayn Rand, and other Rand-positive remarks by Ryan, the flood of media surrounding the Ryan-Rand connection has made numerous errors in representing Rand's ideas.

Carey and Lesniewski have written a confrontation for journalists and a perspective piece for "anyone who admires, appreciates, or respects the ideas of philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand." For those Rand-enthusiasts, it's a relatable description of each disappointing encounter with yet another "short-sighted straw [man] and underdeveloped ad [hominem]." The article highlights innacuracies in publications such as The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The New Yorker. Carey and Lesniewski explain:

You see, we read all those things, flipped through our own copies of Atlas Shrugged, and struggled to find one word that pointed to what any of them were saying. The tragedy hidden behind all of these dismissive, catch-phrase 'refutations' is that the true power behind Rand’s ideas and their impact on American politics are being missed.

We want to clear the air. Nowhere does Rand say that every rich person is good and every poor person is evil, that money should be stockpiled by any means possible, or that people should be treated like objects. We can only conclude that those who state otherwise are willfully trying to distort and misrepresent her ideas.

Similarly, The Atlas Society works to "clear the air" and hold journalists accountable. In our Myths About Ayn Rand section, we debunk common misconceptions about Rand and her works (including two of the myths mentioned above:  Ayn Rand Was Simply Pro-Wealthy and Pro-Business and Ayn Rand Was For Dog-Eat-Dog Selfishness .) Alongside writers such as Carey and Lesniewski, The Atlas Society and our members can help to hold the media accountable for the portrayal of Rand's ideas. Ultimately, we seek to educate people about Ayn Rand and the ideas of Objectivism. Journalists looking to write correctly about Rand's ideas should start here . We also welcome questions about Objectivism  here .


Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand's Ideas: In The Hot Seat Again by The Atlas Society
Ask a question at Objectivism Q&A
Myths About Ayn Rand by The Atlas Society and staff
A Challenge To Journalists by Laurie Rice
What is philosophy? by William R Thomas
What is Objectivism?  by William R Thomas
What is the Objectivist view of Law and Government (Politics)? by William R Thomas
Can Reporters Handle the Truth?  by David Kelley

About the author:
Ayn Rand's Ideas and Influence
Journalism and Media