People Who Kick Buts: Aynd Rynd
The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me.
- Born on February 2, 1905 and passed away on March 6, 1982.
- She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism.
- Born and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936.
After two early novels that were initially less successful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead. In 1957, she published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged.
Afterward she turned to nonfiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own magazines and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.
- Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected all forms of faith and religion.
She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected ethical altruism.
In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed all forms of collectivism and statism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed was the only social system that protected individual rights.
She promoted romantic realism in art. She was sharply critical of the philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except Aristotle.
- Rand was born to a bourgeois family living in Saint Petersburg. She was the eldest of the three daughters of Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum and Anna Borisovna Rosenbaum, largely non-observant Jews.
Rand’s father was a successful pharmacist, eventually owning a pharmacy and the building in which it was located.
She found school unchallenging, and claimed to have begun writing screenplays at the age of eight and novels at the age of ten.
Rand was twelve at the time of the February Revolution of 1917, during which she favored Alexander Kerensky over Tsar Nicholas II.
- After the Russian Revolution, universities were opened to women, allowing Rand to be in the first group of women to enroll at Petrograd State University, where she studied in the department of social pedagogy, majoring in history.
- At the university she was introduced to the writings of Aristotle and Plato, who would be her greatest influence and counter-influence, respectively.
- In the fall of 1925, Rand was granted a visa to visit American relatives. Rand was so impressed with the skyline of Manhattan upon her arrival in New York Harbor that she cried what she later called “tears of splendor”. Intent on staying in the United States to become a screenwriter, she lived for a few months with relatives in Chicago, one of whom owned a movie theater and allowed her to watch dozens of films for free. She then set out for Hollywood, California.
Initially, Rand struggled in Hollywood and took odd jobs to pay her basic living expenses.
- Rand underwent surgery for lung cancer in 1974 after decades of heavy smoking.
- Rand died of heart failure on March 6, 1982, at her home in New York City, and was interred in the Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York.
Rand’s funeral was attended by some of her prominent followers, including Alan Greenspan. A six-foot floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign was placed near her casket.
In her will, Rand named Leonard Peikoff the heir to her estate.