An explosive book by former Ayn Rand intimate Barbara Branden says the founder of the ultra free-market philosophy of objectivism was actually a heavy user of federal assistance and regularly sought meetings with federal officials to squelch competition to her free-market manifestos Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
“No one was more enthralled with the brilliance and charisma of Ayn Rand than I and my husband, Nathaniel Branden, were, but in the end, the great seer of free-market economics was no different than anyone else, taking government handouts whenever she could and using the coercive power of the federal government to make life miserable for true free-marketers whose work posed a threat to her bestselling books,” writes Branden in her book, Ayn Rand: Welfare Queen, just released from Pythagoras Publications.
Rand, who passed away in 1982, has been enjoying something of a rebirth in recent years as conservative and libertarian politicians in the United States point to her work as a model for their vision of America. Paul Ryan, the vice presidential candidate who ran with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012, has cited Rand as a key influence in his beliefs, as has Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the son of former libertarian hero Ron Paul, who is widely believed to be looking at a 2016 presidential run.
But according to Branden, who along with her husband Nathaniel was one of Rand’s most intimate associates in the 1950s and 1960s, Rand was scarcely the free-market purist she claimed to be. Instead, she met several times with the U.S. Department of Justice to try to persuade officials to crack down on what she called “fabricated philosophies designed only to ruin the success of my books.”
All of these attempts failed, however, as Justice officials repeatedly refused to go after authors whose books Rand cited as trying to stem free competition, according to Branden.
Rand also freely tapped federal rental subsidies, called Sec. 8, to help cover her costs while she rented an apartment in New York City while writing her first landmark work, The Fountainhead. “Through an entity that her husband controlled, Rand applied for and received thousands of dollars in rental assistance to reduce the costs of her living in New York City,” the book says.
What’s more, Rand used the same system for obtaining and using food stamps to lower her grocery bills each month. “The bottom line is, she was a cheap, manipulative conniver who used to always say things were better in the U.S.S.R. and how much she missed those bread lines that used to snake around the block when she was a little girl. Of course, that didn’t jive with her self-styled image as a free-market guru, so only those of us closest to her saw that side of her personality,” said Branden.
Branden’s book has generated a firestorm of criticism, with die-hard Rand followers saying Branden is just selling rumors and innuendo to generate sales. “She’s desperate,” says Edward Lee, who says he was part of Rand’s inner circle the same time that the Brandens were. “The fact is, she’s bitter over the way Rand treated her, and of course over the way Rand used her husband.”
Lee said that Rand’s widely acknowledged affair with Nathanial Branden still rankles Barbara Branden, and that probably has a lot to do with the nasty tone of her book. “You can’t really blame her, if you think about it,” said Lee. “I mean, Rand essentially took Barbara’s husband into her bed with no attempt to hide it, basically saying, ‘What’s yours is mine, but what’s mine isn’t necessarily yours,’ and Barbara has never forgiven her for that. I wouldn’t either, to be frank. But that doesn’t justify these lies that she’s peddling.”
So, was Rand never a user of rental and food assistance, along the other subsides Branden alleges she received? “Well, she did receive those subsidies, yes, but only because she qalified for them,” said Lee. “She didn’t seek them out. That’s the whole problem with the federal government. It just flings money at you whether you want it or not. She obviously didn’t want it, but she was no fool. Given that the money was being offered to her, she took it, as anyone would have.”
Ayn Rand: Welfare Queen was the No. 1 New York Times bestselling book the first week it was out.
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional article not meant to be taken seriously. Images: dh, st (Creative Commons) Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Ayn Rand, Back from the Dead, Calls Americans Ninnies for Threatening Election Violence Rather Than Going Away to Build Utopia in the Rockies
Ayn Rand, the objectivist guru who helped launch the Libertarian movement and serves as inspiration for those in the tea party and others who believe Americans should be self reliant rather than live under the yoke of a paternalistic government, came back from the dead today to tell Americans supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that they’re “ninnies” for questioning the legitimacy of the election. “If you read Atlas Shrugged all the way through, you know objectivism isn’t about violence and questioning the vote; it’s about withdrawing from the hopeless liberal society and building a utopia in Colorado,” said Rand, who spoke to reporters and a small crowd of people outside Trump Tower in New York City. More.
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Just when they thought it was safe to go to presidential campaign events without having to listen to the Canadian band Rush, voters have learned that Rand Paul, the libertarian candidate who recently dropped out of the race, isn’t the only fan of the band. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is also a fan, which means the piercing screech of Geddy Lee and the tin-can thumping of Neil Peart once again threaten to send property values down around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington. “Please, tell me this isn’t true,” says Jim Robinson, 40, an attorney in Carson City, Nev., who was interested in voting for Rand Paul but decided he could never vote for anyone who quoted Rush lyrics at campaign events. More.
Poll numbers have been slipping for U.S. Republican presidential aspirant Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) since he announced he candidacy in April and one of his top advisors is pointing the finger at Rush, the Canadian progressive rock trio whose libertarian-themed lyrics have made them a long-time favorite of Paul’s. “As an individual, Rand Paul can listen to any music he wants,” says Chip Englander, the candidate’s campaign manager and one of his top strategists. “It’s not for me to weigh in on someone’s taste in music, no matter how horrible. But as a candidate trying to build a base of support, Rand Paul is doing himself no favors playing music that causes his base of support to run away, screaming ‘Make it stop!’ We’re telling him he can’t go on listening to this music.” More.
Ultra hard-righter Ayn Rand, one of the most influential voices in American politics in the last 50 years, was a nobody until a cabal of Canadian expatriates made her a star in a quest to destablize the United States so that Canada could gain a geo-political edge over its southern neighbor, according to a blockbuster book released yesterday. “People think of Canada as this quiet, do-gooder country that goes the extra mile to get along with its much bigger neighbor,” says Samuel Harper, a political science professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Harper is author of Ayn Rand Conspiracy: How Canada Unleashed the World’s Kookiest Political Philosopher on an Unsuspecting United States (Basic Books: 2014), which landed on the New York Times bestseller list upon its debut. More.
Saying their favorite band has become too commercial since it was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last April, fans of Canadian power trio Rush say it’s time to make a push for their removal. “We were instrumental in getting the band inducted into the Hall of Fame in the first place, thanks to our years of persistence, but now we see we made a mistake,” says Randy Powers, a fan from Pittsburgh who has launched a petition drive calling for Rush’s removal from the Cleveland institution. “Bobbleheads, T-shirts, refrigerators—it’s just all too much. We don’t mind the band trying to make a buck. It’s hard to do that now with people so easily downloading or streaming music on the Internet. But enough is enough.” More.
Cowed by the recent success and outpouring of affection for the Canadian rock trio Rush, music critics have largely refrained from laying a glove on the band, which first hit the music scene in 1974 and today is enjoying something of a renaissance as it basks in the success of its most recent album Clockwork Angels. But several music critics, including most prominently Adam Carter of Rolling Stone, are bucking the trend and slamming the band for its pretentious lyrics, over-wrought drumming, and, most of all, the screeching vocals of bass player and lead singer Geddy Lee. “I know it’s fashionable for one to pay one’s respects to ‘legendary’ progressive rockers Rush, but I just can’t hop onto this bandwagon,” Carter says in his blog, Rock in/Site. “No one can tell me Geddy Lee has somehow learned how to sing. In fact, I would venture to say More.
For all his popularity with tea party conservatives and libertarians, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky will never be able to establish enough trust with American voters to win the presidency, should he run, because of his tousled hair, psychologists and campaign strategists say. “Rand Paul’s tousled hair is not presidential, it’s not masculine,” says Ronald Friedman, a psychologist at Columbia University who has looked extensively at what people’s hair styles say about them. “Even worse, Paul uses a styling gel to get his tousled look, so he faces a double hit with voters. Not only do voters see tousled hair as a lack of strength, but his use of gel makes him seem vain. So, it’s not a good combination.” More.
Zack Morton doesn’t pretend he’s collecting his federal unemployment compensation, rental subsidy, and food stamps as a stopgap measure while he looks for work. No, he just doesn’t like to work and as long as the free money holds out, he has no intention of getting a job. “I hate working,” he says. “Getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, going out in the cold, or the heat, and working all day in an office or outside or in a restaurant or something—I hate it.” Morton says he worked for a while when he was in high school, and in fact dropped out of school so he could work full time. But he didn’t like the work—it was as a clerk in a department store—and he ended up getting fired. “I think I came in late or something or didn’t come in at all. I just can’t remember,” he says. More.