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Jun-28-2011 16:24printcomments

The Anniversary of an Ayn Rand Classic

We the Living has sold over 3 million copies since its first printing in 1936.

Ayn Rand Institute

(IRVINE, Calif.) - This month marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand’s classic novel We the Living. In celebration of this milestone, New American Library is publishing two 75th-anniversary editions in recognition of We the Living’s universal theme of the evil of totalitarianism.

Ayn Rand

We the Living is Ayn Rand’s first and most autobiographical novel. Set in Soviet Russia, it depicts the struggle of the individual against the state, the impact of the Russian Revolution on three human beings who demand the right to live their own lives and pursue their own happiness.

It tells of a young woman’s passionate love, held like a fortress against the corrupting evil of a totalitarian state.

We the Living has sold over 3 million copies since its first printing in 1936.

Media seeking interviews can contact media@aynrand.org.

For more information on Objectivism’s unique point of view, go to ARI’s website. The Ayn Rand Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”

Learn more about Ayn Rand in these Salem-News.com articles by Daniel Johnson:

Jan-07-2010: Going Galt, Going Crazy - By Daniel Johnson Salem-News.com

Jan-12-2010 Answering the Randroids - Daniel Johnson Salem-News.com

Jun-19-2011: I am liberal, hear me roar* - By Daniel Johnson, Associate Editor, Salem-News.com

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Ralph E. Stone June 29, 2011 4:55 pm (Pacific time)

I read “Atlas Shrugged” and the “Fountainhead” and saw the movie versions. The books were almost required reading for college students in the 1960s. Ayn Rand would probably vote Republican today and favor a free market economy devoid of regulation. In fact, Ayn Rand and John Galt, the fictional hero of “Atlas Shrugged,” appeared on signs at Tea Party protests. Rand had the particular genius of recasting the wealthy, the talented, and the powerful as oppressed.

Mike June 29, 2011 8:43 am (Pacific time)

Michael R. Brown that was an excellent analysis, but for those whose focus is not on allowing for info that contradicts their myopic belief system, it will not be very effective for them. Fortunately many more people are becoming enlightened than those that remain in the dark, so in time the latter group will get even smaller.

Michael R. Brown June 28, 2011 8:10 pm (Pacific time)

Contrary to so much of the disinformation out there about her, it isn't the case that Ayn Rand was against charity. She was personally charitable to her friends and donated to help Israel defend itself. In her own words: "My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue." Her point was that you have to have a healthy non-charitable sector in order to be able to provide charity, and that economic freedom (and nothing else) provides that health. How much can one donate if one is starving or dies at age 35, as before technology one did. Government welfare is a perversion of charity because it is ill-managed and cripples the productive sector over time. Look at the tens of trillions in unfunded liabilities that are going to cripple our economy; and it's just going to get worse unless we get the system right. One part of the foolishness of the recent debates about Rand is the idea that agreeing with Rand's prediction and diagnoses in "Atlas Shrugged" - the accuracy of which has been demonstrated in the last few years to a nicety - somehow magically commits one to agreement with her total philosophy. Would this argument be extended to an atheist leftist who recommends Tolstoy or Victor Hugo? The other part is a specific misrepresentation of Christianity. Christianity is not a pro-Statism religion; indeed, given who killed their Savior, it tends to the anti-State. (This is something the left has not yet dealt with.) Nowhere in the Bible does it say that wealth should be expropriated and redistributed by the dubious means of government structures; it speaks of personal and *voluntary* charity. One might add, looking at the horrific debt and unfunded liabilities situation that the U.S. is in right now, that the Bible and Jesus were wise in staying away from government panaceas. This entire kabuki charade is in bad faith. The Bible does not advocate any Progressive notions of "economic justice." The progressives who have suddenly discovered religion and its necessary role in politics - after thirty decades and more of stridently and rightly insisting it must be kept out of politics - are not sincere. After this temporary rhetorical bubble is over, they will resume their previous, also ad-hoc, declarations. As for the "sociopath" accusation, this is what comes of copying attack website garbage. The whole thing rests upon one author - Michael Prescott's - highly selective excerpting and chopping up of a private [i.e., thinking out loud without clarifications ] journal written when Rand was barely out of her teens, fresh from the blood bath of 1920s Soviet Russia - and still made it very clear that her read on the personalities of the observers showed that they were not appalled by Hickman's crime - she said there had been far worse, without the same spectacle of glee - but by his flamboyant and mocking defiance of society. She - who was writing about a *legally innocent man* at the time of the trial - even called him a monster, a pervert, a repulsive and purposeless criminal. Enough with the disinformation and - yes - Satanizing of Ayn Rand.

Daniel Johnson June 28, 2011 7:47 pm (Pacific time)

I like screen writer John Rogers' assessment:

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

Ralph E. Stone June 28, 2011 6:32 pm (Pacific time)

Paraphrasing Gore Vidal on Ayn Rand: Ayn Rand gives moral sanction to greed and self interest. 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. In sum, Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality

DJ:  As Jeff Walker wrote in The Ayn Rand Cult"In trying to account for the book's wide and intense appeal, [Robert] Hunt suggests that Rand plugs into our feelings of being unappreciated and exploited by others, and meant for something better, and has the reader identifying with the heroes and all their glitzy symbols. Furthermore, the freedom not to give a damn about the weak remains a heady concept for many readers." 


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