Monday, January 19, 2009

Letter on Rand's Detractors

By Joseph Kellard

The Smokey Mountain News in North Carolina published a letter I wrote in response to the newspaper’s Jan. 7 editorial “Who is Ayn Rand?”

The editorial was written to accompany an article, “Who controls what’s taught?,” by Julia Merchant, which begins: “Western Carolina University’s College of Business recently secured a $1 million donation from BB&T — but not before discerning faculty fought to loosen the strings that came with the donation.”

Here’s my letter as originally written and published:

Rand attackers are usually gratuitous

To the Editor:

I’m glad to see that your editorial board recognizes the enduring impact of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism on our culture (“Who is Ayn Rand?,” Jan. 7, 2009).

Of course, it’s no surprise that the modern philosophers Darryl Hale speaks of are antagonistic toward Rand. That’s because her supposedly “lightweight” ideas seriously challenge and rock their philosophies at their very core. When I come across critics of Rand’s philosophy and her novels — “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” — particularly among so-called intellectuals, I find few of them provide any serious grounding for their critiques. Usually, they are outright ad hominem attacks, or mere drive-by gratuitous remarks, such as the one in your editorial: Rand “carried her ideas too far.”

Surely these tactics are signs of lightweights, and are a complete contrast to Rand, who could and did take any philosophy, whether she agreed with it or not, and reduce it to its fundamentals.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, N.Y.


Burgess Laughlin said...

Thank you. Your LTE is feisty, clear, and informative--while still managing to get in a plug for her two main novels!

Joseph Kellard said...

Burgess, thanks for your good words about my letter.