By Rightest Rachel

Author's note: I swear, I was gasping when I reread this little thing a week ago. I couldn't believe I wrote so well, and an essay for school? Well, it went through some editing, but still… Impressive piece. We were to research an individual who influenced the United States in some way, and I chose Ayn Rand as she amazed me when I first read her book Atlas Shrugged. Review if you wish.


"I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another Man, nor ask another man to live for mine." Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged

" Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it -- that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life." Ayn Rand

Ms. Ayn Rand, the great influential novelist philosopher of the twentieth century, is universally known throughout the United States of America. To the liberals and leftists she is an especially outspoken fraudulent idiot who is exceedingly arrogant, selfish, egoistical, barbaric, and discourteous. To the rightists she is their much worshiped hero (branden). Ayn Rand was significantly influenced by Aristotle, and she asserted, that she owed a considerable amount of debt to him, while vigorously opposing countless statements formulated by Aristotle (rand). Ayn Rand declared herself to be an Aristotelian, who first and foremost is vehemently opposed to Plato and his philosophy, Platonism (rand). She is against mysticism, selflessness, self sacrificing, Kantianism, Hegelianism, Communism, and collectivism. Ms. Rand declared herself to be an abstract philosopher and novelist. Rand lived by her philosophy that she advocated for in her book all her life. She never had to correct her fundamental convictions, and she was devoted in spreading her philosophy (rand). Her heir Lenoard Peikoff, Yaron Brooks, and a group of her followers continue Rand's quest to spread and help people understand Objectivist thought at present (Ayn Rand). Ayn Rand held that she is "an American by choice and conviction." She viewed America as a country that corresponded to her morals, which was the motive for her immigration. She arrived in America alone and without assistance. She believed it was nobody's duty to support her (rand).

Ayn Rand or Alice Zinovievna Rosenbaum was born in St. Petersburg on the second of February in 1905. Rand was educated in Russia. At age six she taught herself to read, and at age eight she found her favorite hero in a French magazine for children. After Victor Hugo's stories interested her at age nine she declared that she desired to be a novelist for the fiction genre, and to the end of her days she claimed to be a European writer. During high school, she witnessed the Kerensky and Bolshevik revolutions. She supported the former, but was opposed to the latter (nobleshoul). During grade school she was bored, and not surprisingly, she was at the top of her class. She sat in the back of the classroom writing novels, and at home read ahead. She studied history and philosophy in her college years. She was interested in philosophy as she wanted to find the definition and value in her philosophical convictions, and she wanted to study humankind's past (rand). She arrived in the United States on the eighteenth of February in 1926, and since then, has permanently stayed in the United States. She first married Frank O'Connor then became a United States naturalized citizen on the thirteenth of March of 1931 (branden). She was also a playwright and wrote a drama which was titled Night Of January Sixteenth which was produced in 1936, while she worked as a script writer. Her first novel We The Living, discusses life in Russia according to a citizen, first published in 1936, features the heroine Kira Argounova and her two lovers Leo Kovalenksy and Andrei Taganov. Then, it was the Fountainhead featuring the main hero Howard Roark, who is an architect, which was published in 1943. Her short story about Collectivism, Anthem, came out in 1946. Then, her greatest and most famous novel Atlas Shrugged featuring the hero John Galt, who was a physicist who invented motors for productive people, and Galt's Gulch, which was a valley in which the productive folks stayed in while on strike was published in 1957. She wrote several collections of essays including For The New Intellectual published in 1961, The Virtue Of Selfishness was published in 1964, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal was published in 1966, The Romantic Manifesto was published in 1969, The New Left: The Anti-industrial Revolution was published in 1971, and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, which was published in 1979 (noblesoul). She died in New York of heart failure on the sixth of March in 1982 (Ayn Rand). In spite of her early death, Ayn Rand was a great figure who moved society.

Ayn Rand is widely studied; however, in many cases Ayn Rand is not completely understood and often confuses the readers. To understand Ayn Rand completely, one must not go after her childhood, but her ideas. Ayn Rand, the self proclaimed abstract novelist, philosopher, Aristotelian, and objectivist, is responsible for several great contributions to society, such as her Rightist philosophy Objectivism, her hope for the world, and her strong advocacy for capitalism.

Ayn Rand developed a complicated secular philosophical system. Her philosophy can easily be applied to any time period with ease, and presently with the economical crisis in the United States her ideas are wildly successful. As a novelist and philosopher, Ayn Rand has helped the world understand life fully. Her books are targeted at the younger population of society, who takes her words in with delight. It explains a great deal to the younger population, and even causes admiration for Ayn Rand amongst elderly folks who supposedly know all, but the main audience is always the young who are still developing their ideas. This is because if they start at an early age they tend to be more open to logical ideas, which means they can build on and eventually become influential in their later years. She achieves this success not by force, as she believes force is harmful, but brings people the truth in a way that excites people, which makes folks think.

Ayn Rand presents her philosophy skillfully in these books, and so today, the readers are able to absorb her system in an enjoyable format. This system is similar to all others and starts with metaphysics which is objective reality, which is the world as it is. One cannot change the world as they wish, but have to take the world as it is and develop values and emotions appropriately. With the values one obtains by observing the world and the system within it, one must decide appropriately, according to their judgment, what areas they are interested in and willing to pursue goals within. They must do as their values prompt and act as their values instruct.

It is also important to decide according to your judgment, and only on that, as no one can live your life for you, and individuals must only think for themselves. It is not the duty of one man to choose for another. This process of choosing for oneself must not work without values. One integrates their values into their choices and their decisions, which should represent their values. One can not go upon impulse as it is irrational and the irrational results do not generally work for one's best interest.

For a decision to be good, every step must have a motive and the ability to be explained by values or rationality. One must be able to reason out the values and motives of every step taken. When one has trouble deciding, it must be because of irrationality and not thought out details. One must stop and reason it all out. One must never go by the norms, not even when one cannot resolve their dilemmas, because it is as bad as blending in to the masses.

When conforming the individual is not reasoning. The reasoning mind can not work collectively, and when one is mimicking, one is often not processing fully. The people who copy society without thinking are led to unwanted results. The person to act according to society and its trends is being the average thinker. A conformist can hardly rise to success, as real success requires thinking originally in terms of personal choice, and when one blends in to trends and follows them, they are often not reasoning according to their personal values. They only perform it as a duty to be viewed as good in society.

The producers or achievers are a part of the power that is holding up society, so without them one cannot possibly live. They run our society, making things possible for the masses. They work by themselves, only acting according to their judgment, do not work well with interference, and work to their greatest capacity. The world's motor is the big business men, who work strenuously for many hours. They do not take short cuts, demand for breaks, give in when things are going downhill, or fear other successful achievers. The parasite, which is most common, sticks to tradition, does not work or does not work diligently, constantly asks for breaks and leaves, fears success, loves federal interference, supports welfare, is dependent on social means, and often does not think for himself. Knowing this, one must choose which way to go. Collectivism does not work, which leads Ayn Rand to stress that Capitalism, and the enlightenment are the most important factors to a successful nation.

A purely capitalistic nation has never been in existence, thus Ayn Rand concludes that the United States has always been a mixed economy. The closest form of government to a capitalistic nation is the government established in 1776; however, that too went downhill and more government was imposed. Laisez-Faire Capitalism is a completely free economy where government has nothing to do with trade. Rand believed that the only thing a government should do is to ensure that no citizen is breaking the laws that were established. Also, they are to ensure ultimate liberty for all citizens preventing the liberty of any individual to be violated.

Today, her novel Atlas Shrugged is at the top of the list amongst the books that have most copies sold for the fiction genre (Ayn Rand). It is a positive contribution because it gives many people a way to live in this world. This book helps structure many lives giving them a direction in which they can develop in. They are given the ideas in Atlas Shrugged, which many people put to use right away.

Without Ayn Rand's works, the ideas of Capitalism might not be as prominent. With the help of Rand's book, Atlas Shrugged, the image of the perfect society is reintroduced and is taken up by many today. One of the best examples of a person who is influenced by Atlas Shrugged and is helping the capitalistic movement is the United States former Federal Reserve Chairman Allan Greenspan. Atlas Shrugged is a book about the Hero John Galt who stops the world's motor because folks do not recognize the achievement of the mind. The social system in Atlas Shrugged partly mirrors today's politics and economics. This book is powerful because Rand was able to predict the downfall of the political system over fifty years ago, as she started to write this book in 1943 and finished in 1957.

Not only is Atlas Shrugged popular, but so is the Fountainhead, which is more commonly taught in high schools. This is where some students get their first taste of Rand, which is in their senior AP English class (branden). The Fountainhead is a positive contribution as it discusses the perfect individual man. This book explores the idea of an ideal life by exposing personal convictions and morals of the main hero Howard Roark. It gives a lot of hope to Americans by stressing values they can consider and also a life style they can adopt. It also shows people how individuality is not evil and that one can stand against the whole world while still succeeding.

These novels affect and influence many Americans by allowing them to see the truth of all things. These novels offer the reader a basic sense of metaphysical concepts, which allow people to form values, which is the root of good ethics, which in turn aids them in their political views. The group most influenced by Rand is the objectivists, which is a very specific group of people. Objectivists are her most studied students who devote their whole life to her philosophical system. They are all about preserving the Ayn Rand image, and all her ideas are theirs. They believe they have to completely agree with her to be objectivists and cannot differ in anyway, otherwise it would be immoral because Rand had said so (branden.

There are many other people she influenced to a lesser degree. Some popular politicians who she influenced, that are familiar to most are Ron Paul, Allan Greenspan, and Neal Boortz. One writer she influenced is Terry Goodkind, who wrote The Sword of Truth. Also her ideas triggered a political party, and this is the right winged libertarian party. However, in general most rightists would have to agree with her on most points, even if they have never read her novels, because her ideas are so widely spread that people actually know her ideas, but not her name.

Ayn Rand has not only influenced grown men and women. She has influenced many high school students. I, who have read five of her pieces, am influenced by her ideas. The books by Rand that I have read, which have influenced and changed my life include Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead, Anthem, We The Living, and The Voice of Reason. These books have changed my views on philosophical and political issues. Before I read any of Rand's novels, I was a leftist, which meant I wholeheartedly agreed with the democrats.

Even at the beginning of Atlas Shrugged, I was excited, amazed, inspired, and felt this childishly innocent joy. The ideas effected me right away, and after I had completed the book, I agreed with the rightists. I knew the rightists were correct and immediately agreed with the Libertarian party. The book withdrew me from my fantasy, assisted me in perceiving the cold truth with a more realistic view and changed my view on life. It also aided me to redefine my values and who I was; it influenced me to think and act for myself, more properly, more maturely, and rationally. I started the book in September. Although I had homework to do and school to attend, I did read Atlas Shrugged at every free moment I could spare. It was exceptionally entertaining, while providing me with hope and happiness. I finished Atlas Shrugged's 1169 pages in a months time. When I had finally finished Atlas Shrugged, I decided to set aside some time to review everything I had learned from the book, and that was when I realized just how much I had changed. A few months later, after I had finished reading The Voice of Reason, which was the last book I could get from Braille Institute, because they did not have anything else by Rand in their collection, I once again reflected on the past few months, and I was astonished at how much I had changed.

Now ten months later at the beginning of May, I still remember that summer day that started all of this. It was in the summer, and The Foundation of the Junior Blind organized a trip for those of us who wanted to, to go deep sea fishing. I was on a fishing boat for five hours trying to catch some fish, and every blind individual was paired up with someone from the yacht club, which sponsored the trip. I was really fortunate to be paired up with this rather famous intellectual and philosophical gentleman. I only ended up catching one very small fish on that fishing trip that I couldn't keep, but instead got an earful of knowledge, which would change my life forever. The fact that I didn't catch any fish on that trip really wasn't important, as I was overjoyed by the knowledge I had obtained that day, which I'll always remember. The trip was almost over when this truly priceless and memorable moment happened. It was a beautiful hot day. I was standing by the edge of the boat next to an elderly gentleman who was speaking earnestly to me by the name of Charles Pascal, and I was holding a fishing pole dangling over the side attempting to catch a fish. That is when he said it, "Yes, i think you're ready for it. You should read Atlas Shrugged."

Author's Note: That's the end of it, folks. I remember that day after he said it, I couldn't take him seriously for a moment, I thought He was joking. I am glad he wasn't. Now almost a year and a month after that August day, I have still not forgotten that glorious day, gotten more rational, and still talk to him.