first posted 2 Feb 99
"8. DO NOT review any book about Ayn Rand. Even if you rave it, her gremlins will find something to go bananas about and write you a letter: 'Dear Social Metaphysician! Examine your anti-Objectivist premises and you will see that your epistemology stinks!!!'"
--Florence King in "National Review," 3 Feb 1999, p. 64.
"The awkward age [9th grade in high school] is the worst time to [discover] Ayn Rand." [The young Florence King began to model herself after Dominique Francon, the female protagonist in The Fountainhead] ...
"I stopped walking and started striding, taking care to turn my flat feet inward so I would look like an egoist instead of a duck. I kept my eyes locked straight ahead, causing myself a number of collisions and falls. I forced my jaw into a rational clamp, which broke the rubber bands on my braces and made me dribble down my front. In the name of individualism I quit Le Cercle Français. I longed to quit organizations right and left, but unfortunately, French Club was the only one I had ever joined. I gave some thought to ending my friendships, but having only two, it did not seem worthwhile. The architect who had designed Central [High School in DC] was dead, so I could not help him blow up the school, and there was no way to locate the mad bomber, who in any case was probably not an idealist in the Howard Roark mold.
"How, then, could I be like Dominique?"
Read the book (a highly entertaining autobiography) to find out. I dare not post any more of it, for fear of infringing the copyright.
Ayn Rand is only one of many misanthropes honored in this book. King avoids some obvious subjects like Adolf Hitler; after all, as a highly successful politician, Hitler liked some human company. Among many King does write up, besides Rand, are feminists, Black separatists, good 'ol boys, Richard Nixon, Gordon Liddy, Ty Cobb, Dianne Fossey (the gorilla protector in Rwanda), Irving Berlin, and Ambrose Bierce.
King's essay on Rand relied heavily on Barbara Branden's excellent biography, "The Passion of Ayn Rand."
Ayn Rand, simultaneously a feminist and misogynist --
Randian heroes come off as metaphors for Jews because they are beset by irrational forces that try to bar them from the professions and use their virtues against them to bring about their destruction. (P. 128)