Steven Farron says Ayn Rand is the greatest novelist. My opinion of her fiction is not quite so exalted, but both her fiction and her philosophy were major influences on mine, since I was under her influence for about 15 years. But we agree that she has one big weakness: her sense of life. In his article, he says Rand's sense of life is too heroic for capitalism. In fact, it comes right out of revolutionary Russia.
This, therefore, is a study in the anxiety of influence.
Here's the contradiction:
- Her sense of life is heroic, inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche, High Romanticism, British adventure fiction, and (this is rarely mentioned) the heroic environment of the Russian Revolution. Her heroes do not deal with the "penny-ante".
- Capitalism is about making money from anything you can make money from. You can definitely make money off the "penny-ante".
(Here is where I ransack the bookcase in my computer room to find my copies of The Romantic Manifesto and The Virtue of Selfishness.)