Quotable: Gore Vidal on Ayn Rand

“This odd little woman is attempting to give a moral sanction to greed and self interest, and to pull it off she must at times indulge in purest Orwellian newspeak of the ‘freedom is slavery’ sort. What interests me most about her is not the absurdity of her ‘philosophy,’ but the size of her audience (in my campaign for the House she was the one writer people knew and talked about). She has a great attraction for simple people who are puzzled by organized society, who object to paying taxes, who dislike the ‘welfare’ state, who feel guilt at the thought of the suffering of others but who would like to harden their hearts. For them, she has an enticing prescription: altruism is the root of all evil, self-interest is the only good, and if you’re dumb or incompetent that’s your lookout.”

–Gore Vidal, Esquire, 1961

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6 Responses to Quotable: Gore Vidal on Ayn Rand

  1. ck says:

    What’s dangerous is that more and more are buying copies of Atlas Shrugged.
    More and more are subscribing to that way of thinking.
    Sad thing is, because most have such a short attention span and won’t think outside the box to research further on their own. If they did, they would have read many Ayn Rand biographies to find that even she found her ideals unattainable; that she certainly didn’t practise what she preached.
    I wonder if her idols and followers who are socons realize that she too was pro-choice?

  2. Jim Hadstate says:

    Yeah, Gore had it exactly right, she was definitely an odd little woman. When the only known lover that she ever took cheated on her and left her for the other woman, she went bonkers and the rest is Atlas Shrugged history.
    If only someone had had the decency and good sense to introduce her to vibrators or dildos, we may have had an “Atlas Didn’t Give Enough Of A Fuck To Hold The World Up So He Decided That He Would Use His Brain To Help People Instead Of Being The Biggest Prick In The World”. Yeah, I know the title’s a little long, but I’ll let the editor work on that. Have to get back to my toys. Hmmm…is today the vibrator day or the dildo day?

  3. LOL! Jim, you crack me the hell up.
    Anyway, Atlas was just a myth. And the world, upon the death of said myth, shrugged. For Ayn Rand, the same. She died alone and friendless, with no one looking after her but a paid nurse, who I’m sure didn’t give a rat’s ass for her either, other than as a source of cash. There’s a lesson in that, I’m sure, that the “Go Galt” cultists have yet to learn.

  4. otto says:

    zing! That is so good! Must steal.

  5. Michelle says:

    Hmmm…seems to me that Gore Vidal summarized Ms. Rand’s work quite nicely.
    Thanks for digging it up!

  6. chris says:

    I was asked recently by a teenage relative if I had read Atlas Shrugged and, if so, what did I think of it.
    I said pretty much what Vidal said but not nearly as well. I’ve emailed the whole article.
    Thank you, Sabina.

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