In Impromptus today, I touch on some ticklish questions, including Muslims, ‘birthers,’ and Randians (oh my!). Needless to say, such topics provoke a little mail. I wanted to share with you a note about Ayn Rand, which I thought was charming:
. . . I’m sure my own experience reflects how a lot of people feel about her. I read her in my teens and early twenties, and have come to regard her books as an inoculation. In some cases, they can lead to full-blown Randianism, which, in my opinion, is an undesired effect. But in most cases they act as protection against the collectivist impulse, and give the earnest young a fighting chance against the constant assault of left-wing opinion.
In short, use cowpox to prevent smallpox, but watch the dosage!
P.S. I have headed this post “Miss Rand as Inoculator.” (WFB used to refer to the lady as “Miss Rand,” occasionally.) Why not just “Rand as Inoculator”? Well, I thought people might think of the new Kentucky senator. I remember when it became impossible to refer to the 41st president as “Bush,” as we had for many years. You couldn’t even say “George Bush”! It got kind of complicated. My preferred formulation was “Bush the Elder.” Then “41” and “43” got kind of popular.
You remember what 41 used to call 43, teasingly? “Quincy.”