Ayn Rand and especially her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged are more popular than ever, as I've blogged about before. This might largely be in part to conservative activists appropriating imagery and the message from the book in their criticism of the Obama administration's economic policies. Now the literary world is getting in on the action, with a number of high-profile Rand biographies being published. The New York Times reviewed one such biography yesterday, Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne Heller.
If the protestors at tea party rallies carrying signs like "John Galt was right" were to read biographies of Rand, would they still tout her ideas and characters?
Here's an example: Glenn Beck has approvingly covered Ayn Rand on his show, and has likely increased her popularity among tea party activists. He has also called marriage the "building block of the universe" and criticized attempts to expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships.
But, as the Heller biography reveals, Rand didn't exactly have a "traditional" view of marriage.
When Blumenthal, who changed his name to Nathaniel Branden, moved to New York, Rand followed him; she inserted herself into her protégé’s love life, urging him to marry his girlfriend; then Rand began to sleep with Branden, insisting that both their spouses be kept fully apprised of what was going on.
I don't think the Right will ever fully embrace Rand for her decidedly non-conservative views on social issues and religion. But as long as economics and the deficit are the issues of the day, she will continue to have a place in the conservative heart.