Auld Lang’s Ayn

Ayn Rand is in the news today, trending on Yahoo. And dewy-eyed former minion Paul Ryan can’t distance himself fast enough or far enough away from her. I don’t blame him.

Almost every college student goes through that awkward Ayn Rand phase not long after puberty and before the student loans come due. Who isn’t taken with her philosophy of individual achievement? When you’re young, myopic, and self-centered, someone who tells you you’re on the right track is someone you want in your corner, and Ayn Rand, John Galt, and Howard Roark will have your back.

But as you start working to pay back those student loans; build relationships; and realize that not everyone had your advantages, your skills, and your good fortune, you want to start paying back (or paying forward). And that’s where Miss Rand, like Miss Maroney, is not impressed (to tag onto the meme of the moment).

In The Christmas Carol Murders, Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy floats like a miasma over the small town of Dickens Junction, Oregon. The town was founded to celebrate the life and works of Dickens and his “Carol” philosophy, a humanistic/Christian rewording of the Golden Rule. When I first thought of this premise for the novel a few years ago, it made me laugh.

Now we have a vice-presidential candidate who once had all of his staff members read Atlas Shrugged, not because it is a bad novel that espouses a worse philosophy, but because he believes Rand’s philosophy provides a moral compass.  Now I’m not laughing so hard.

See what happens when Rand and Dickens face off in The Christmas Carol Murders, on sale next month. Just in time for the election.

4 thoughts on “Auld Lang’s Ayn

  1. Can’t agree with your simplification of Ayn Rand. As a long-time educator there is a lot more to opportunity, effort and benefit.

    • You will have to wait a little longer to read the book to decide whether I have oversimplified her or just used exaggeration of her beliefs for some comic purpose. All of that aside, it’s hard for me to take her seriously as a philosopher. As you will see, my protagonist, Simon, places her works in an unusual place in his bookstore.

  2. It amused me no end to learn of Rep. Ryan’s affection for all things Ayn. It was an unexpected revelation, coming from a “good Catholic boy”. I will be eager to see how she plays in your book. Elections are never ending sources of amusement – at least until Nov. 6th.

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