Loving the Bitch-Goddess

Paul Johnson's book Intellectuals, published last year, chronicles the transgressions of modern avatars of wisdom (among them Rousseau, Marx, and Sartre) who, while professing a fervent devotion to humanity, behaved inhumanly toward those most meriting their compassion—spouses, lovers, family, friends, and associates. Although the targets of Johnson's caustic pen all were idols of the left, the volume would have been more credible had its author included at least one intellectual of the right. As Nathaniel Branden amply illustrates, the prophetess of laissez-faire capitalism would have been a worthy candidate. Judgment Day was written by Ayn Rand's former disciple and intellectual agent, who for twenty years played St. Paul to her messiah, and for most of that period also played a more earthy role in milady's boudoir.

Rand (1905-1982) was a novelist and self-styled philosopher who expounded her economic-political-moral theories in such best-selling novels as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and in nonfiction works including The Virtues of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

Had the Russian-born author stopped after defending the free market and opposing collectivism, it would have been well and good. She went much further, however, attempting to construct an ethical system based on the idea of the individual as the highest...

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