Magazine October 4, 2010, Issue

Letters

Ayn Rand, Christian Soldier?

“The Greatly Ghastly Rand” (August 30), by Jason Lee Steorts, analyzes Ayn Rand and her writings accurately and not altogether without sympathy. Allow me to add my own sympathetic note.

At age 16, when I ran across Atlas Shrugged, I was always trying to stretch myself. I fell in love with Rand immediately. I wouldn’t put the book down, and had soon plowed through the rest of her novels, convinced that her “Objectivist” philosophy was perfectly rational and declaring myself an atheist on its recommendation.

It didn’t last. Rand’s belief in absolutism defeated her in me, for it became clear that no “objective” standard could be the product of an individual’s mind. Of course, it didn’t help that a Lutheran pastor had given me a copy of Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis.

It took five years for me to become a Christian, and my experience was not too unlike Lewis’s own, as he described it: I was not at all happy to find that the “absolute” Rand referred to was really found only in God.

Still, I have much to thank Rand for. In a very real sense, she set me on the right course, though not at all one of which she would have approved. She wouldn’t have admitted it, but the one issue where she is in complete agreement with the Almighty is the value of the individual.

One night, many years ago, I heard her in Sacramento on a 50,000-watt clear-channel Los Angeles AM station. Rand could tolerate no challenge to any of her views. I smiled at that then and do so now, while hoping George MacDonald was right in his apparent belief in the ultimate redemption of everyone.

After all, Ayn Rand was instrumental in leading at least one person to Christ. For that, I will always be grateful.

Paul Hubert

Via e-mail

Correction

“The Greatly Ghastly Rand” contains the following sentence: “There is a passage [in The Fountainhead] in which Roark does not know that something he has said has given a passing character ‘the courage to face a lifetime.’” Roark does converse with the character, but the description would be more accurate as: “something he has done.”

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Beyond Sanctions

The U.S.-led financial-sanctions campaign currently under way against Iran is biting, but it isn’t enough. To change the Iranian regime’s nuclear calculus, the administration and the international community need to ...
Politics & Policy

Dim Idea

Arriving late one night into Tokyo, I checked into my hotel room to discover the world’s most complicated toilet. There were hoses and nozzles where hoses and nozzles probably shouldn’t be, ...

Features

Politics & Policy

The Great U-Turn

Admirers and detractors of the United States agree on one point: This country is unusually resistant to the social consensus and set of structures broadly known as “social democracy” or ...
Politics & Policy

Obama’s U.N. Record

Barack Obama will make his second address as president to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, and engage in the customary ceremonies, social events, and ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Film: Total Immersion

At times, it can feel as though television’s auteurs are making the movie industry irrelevant. Fifty years after phrases like “idiot box” and “vast wasteland” entered the American vocabulary, the ...
Politics & Policy

Bliss Was It . . .

The 1924 presidential election was, on the face of it, a snoozer. The major-party candidates were Calvin Coolidge (Republican) and John W. Davis (Democrat). Both were conservative — sensationally so ...
Politics & Policy

Moot Causes

Where did the idea come from that, if a black student studies hard in school, he is “acting white”? Stuart Buck — a Harvard Law graduate who is currently a ...
Politics & Policy

Laws of Thought

On entering the Catholic Church earlier this year, Hadley Arkes explained that he had become convinced that the Church was fundamentally a truth-telling institution. He arrived at this judgment after ...

Sections

The Long View

“How We Can Help Improve Your Image”

Notes to a PowerPoint presentation to: The Islamic Faith By ImageSpinners, LLC Slide 1: Photo of the Planet Earth from space morphing into ImageSpinners logo. “Who We Are” ImageSpinners, LLC, is a New York–based public-relations ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

GREAT LAKE WINTER A crack in ice will join as well as rend. In every ear that thinks it’s safe from harm, The snap can clearly cause, or not, alarm. But those who hear ...
Athwart

The Teat Eternal

The New York Times Sunday magazine is where you find nice glossy ads for expensive consumer goods alongside 10,000-word stories on why expensive consumer goods do not make us happy. ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Ayn Rand, Christian Soldier? “The Greatly Ghastly Rand” (August 30), by Jason Lee Steorts, analyzes Ayn Rand and her writings accurately and not altogether without sympathy. Allow me to add my ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Soon the Republicans may be able to claim the first nonwhite Speaker of the House. ‐ President Obama’s long-stated view is that his predecessor’s tax cuts for the middle class ...
The Bent Pin

Fed Up

Optimists don’t mind if you eavesdrop on them. They welcome it, in fact, because it helps them spread their fiendish gospel. Here is what the one behind me in the ...

Most Popular

Media

Mark Zuckerberg’s On the Right Track

In comments earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued that social-media companies should strive to avoid regulating the views of users. “I don’t think Facebook or internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with CNBC. “I think that’s kind ... Read More
Media

Mark Zuckerberg’s On the Right Track

In comments earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued that social-media companies should strive to avoid regulating the views of users. “I don’t think Facebook or internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with CNBC. “I think that’s kind ... Read More

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Five Thoughts on the George Floyd Story

After a night of riots, looting, and arson in Minneapolis to protest the police killing of George Floyd, five thoughts spring to mind: One: It is always hazardous to draw sweeping conclusions about society from individual criminal cases. Every individual case involves individual facts, and those facts often ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Five Thoughts on the George Floyd Story

After a night of riots, looting, and arson in Minneapolis to protest the police killing of George Floyd, five thoughts spring to mind: One: It is always hazardous to draw sweeping conclusions about society from individual criminal cases. Every individual case involves individual facts, and those facts often ... Read More
U.S.

Toward Justice — and Order — in Minneapolis

George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died shortly after being physically restrained by four Minneapolis police officers on Monday. His arrest on suspicion of a non-violent crime (passing a counterfeit $20 bill) was caught on a cellphone video and at least two store surveillance videos. From the videos that are ... Read More
U.S.

Toward Justice — and Order — in Minneapolis

George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died shortly after being physically restrained by four Minneapolis police officers on Monday. His arrest on suspicion of a non-violent crime (passing a counterfeit $20 bill) was caught on a cellphone video and at least two store surveillance videos. From the videos that are ... Read More