The Surprising Success of Ayn Rand

In 1961, the Post interviewed philosopher Ayn Rand and came away unimpressed.

Ayn Rand

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Sixty years ago, the Post introduced readers to Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism. The reporter who filed the story didn’t hesitate to call Rand’s following a cult and had difficulty taking her seriously.

In the course of her 56 years, Ayn (pronounced “Ein”) Rand, who allows she is “the most creative thinker alive,” has produced five books. They include two elephantine novels, The Fountainhead (754 pages), which has sold, despite mixed reviews, about 1,250,000 copies since its publication 18 years ago; and Atlas Shrugged (1,168 pages), published in 1957 and deprecated by most critics, which has sold close to a million copies.

Miss Rand expounds a code of ethics [that] calls for nothing less than the repudiation of the entire moral and spiritual tradition underlying Western civilization.

A militant atheist, Miss Rand considers the Sermon on the Mount evil. To her, altruism is a cardinal sin, “rational self-interest” the loftiest virtue. An exemplar of Christian ideals like Albert Schweitzer she terms monstrous.

—“The Curious Cult of Ayn Rand” by John Kobler, November 11, 1961

The first page of the article "The Curious Cult of Ayn Rand"
Read “The Curious Cult of Ayn Rand” by John Kobler from the November 11, 1961, issue of the Post.

This article is featured in the November/December 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: English: Photo portrait credited to “Talbot” (though not on original dust jacket). Published by the Bobbs-Merrill Company., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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Comments

  1. Well, it seems Ms. Rand passed away about 40 years too early. She might find the utterly appalling, messed up world we’re living in now appealing and quite to her liking. She probably helped pave the way for Madalyn Murray-O’Hair in the early 60’s as well.

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