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Linz's New Book
Is Edward Snowden a hero?
Hell yes! His actions were moral.
Hell no! Put him away for treason.
Yes and no. It's a grey area.
Other (please specify)
Total votes: 25
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2010-01-06 00:55
Harry Binswanger, fresh from advising his loyalty-oathed choir members not to read the new bios, gets off his cloistered ass and says:
I was one of Ayn Rand’s closest friends in her last years. I visited her in her apartment about once a week during the last year or so of her life, and spoke to her on the phone daily. This being a blog, I can only make assertions.
1. Rand had no problem with Dexedrine. She took a tiny amount daily (they even continued to give it to her when she was in the hospital).
2. Both the Heller and the Burns view of her character and personality is wrong: she was a fully rational person, as well as a gracious and charming one. The breaks she made with people were well deserved by them (I knew all the details in most of the cases.) I only wish she had broken with Greenspan.
3. She was very well versed in the history of philosophy, although more through secondary sources for the philosophers she disagreed with. Her knowledge of the history of philosophy is amply displayed in the title essay of her book For the New Intellectual. I’m a professional philosopher (not currently in academia, but I have taught graduate philosophy at U Texas/Austin), and I’m awestruck by the incisiveness of her presentation of the history of philosophy (presented in a highly condensed, masterfully essentialized form) in that essay. Oh, here’s another data point. A couple of years ago, the Ayn Rand Society of the American Philosophical Association had a meeting on her view of Aquinas, and one of the world’s leading authorities on Aquinas (not at all an Objectivist) stated that he was surprised to learn that she got Aquinas’ theory of universals right, as opposed to the claim of a lesser paper-presenter at the session arguing that she got it wrong.
You probably won’t be (and shouldn’t be) convinced by my mere assertions, but I wanted to go on record as giving a diametrically opposite view. You can pretty much judge for yourself by reading what she wrote, and as to her personality, read Letters of Ayn Rand–a fascinating look at her whole life through her letters. Also, highly recommended is the very short book by another of her close friends (Mary Ann Sures, who typed the manuscript of Atlas Shrugged in Rand’s apartment): Facets of Ayn Rand.
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The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand