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Ayn Rand - Handout

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1905
and was a novelist, philosopher,
playwright and screenwriter. Her two
biggest novels were The Fountainhead
(1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957). Rand
taught herself to read at age six and
began writing fiction at the age of nine.
As a teenager she witnessed both the
Kerensky Revolution - which she
supported - and also the Bolshevik
Revolution which she did not support.
Rand was opposed to the mysticism and collectivism of Russian culture and
moved to the United States in 1926 where she formed her idea of how a free
nation should be.
She advocated reason as the sole way of acquiring knowledge and totally
rejected religion and faith. Politically, she opposed collectivism and statism
but also opposed anarchism, preferring the notion of a limited government
and laissez-faire capitalism, in her eyes the only social system to uphold
individual rights. Rand denounced libertarianism which she associate with
anarchism which she rejected as a naïve theory based in subjectivism.
Rand called her philosophy "Objectivism" and described its as:
"the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose
of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only
She believed that mans “highest moral purpose is the achievement of his own
happiness, and that he must not force other people, nor accept their right to force him,
that each man must live as an end in himself and follow his own rational selfinterest.”