Monday, October 19, 2009

Jennifer Burns about Ayn Rand - NBIH

New Books in History went along with a recommendation I made, of all people. I was alerted to a book written by historian and history podcaster Jennifer Burns (Berkeley's History 7b) and passed this on to Marshall Poe, the host of New Books in History. On the show two weeks ago, he interviewed Jennifer Burns on this book of hers about Ayn Rand and the American Right.

Ayn Rand, was not born in the US and Ayn Rand was not her original name. She actually came from the Soviet Union and Burns and Poe discuss with awe and excitement how Rand managed to become an icon of the American right. Not just any right. These days, the right is mostly associated with strong conservatism, but Rand's was another kind of right. She propagated a life of stark individualism, atheism and libertarianism with a free market and little government.

She also lived that life. Taking on few bonds, being libertarian also about sexuality and drugs - she used amphetamine. Some of her erratic behavior can be ascribed, as Marshall Poe sees it, to her addiction, though Burns seems less inclined to go that road. In any case, Rand seen in this light, I wonder, may in some years' time be viewed as a leftist rather than as a rightist. Or the god-fearing, family values conservatives must have turned left, by then. They won't fit in the same church, that is for sure.

More NBIH:
Atlantic History,
Political rationalizations in Nazi-Germany,
Whalen / Rohrbough,
Confronting the bomb,
Henry Hudson's fatal journey.

More Jennifer Burns:
History 7b - history podcast review,
American Civil Rights Movement,
Whittaker Chambers,
Scopes Trial,
US History - from Civil War to Present.
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