William F. Buckley did not heart Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand – the only pure capitalist ever to take a second breath. Her novels celebrate self interest and individualism of the sort never seen in the real world. She is long dead, but her devotees seem to be rising from their graves and making themselves heard here and there. Even her novel The Fountainhead just got its second  Her novel Atlas Shrugged has just gotten its first Hollywood treatment.  Fountainhead was memorialized in film decades ago with Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. I am curious to find out how they deal with John Galt’s 7-hour speech? (thanks to our ‘rational Republican’ Sean in the comments for the correction!)

Here’s William F. Buckey – founder of modern conservatism –  in 2003 with Charlie Rose, talking about Rand:

NOTE: Sherry at A Feather Adrift reminds us this morning that wunderkind Rep. Paul Ryan, he of the 2.8% unemployment budget, is a Randian. Elvis save us.

21 responses to “William F. Buckley did not heart Ayn Rand

  1. This makes sense. Ayn Rand was an extreme libertarian, while William F. Buckley was more of a traditional social conservative.

    ” (However do they deal with John Galt’s 7-hour speech?)”

    That was in Atlas Shrugged, not the Fountainhead. 😉

    Okay, I admit, that was a big nerd moment for me…


    • Oh I read it too in college, when idealism seemed real. I see Buckley as more than a ‘type’; he really did bring conservatism out of the shadows and made Goldwater possible (although of course Goldwater did lose 49 states!). It took another 30 years for conservatism to really ramp up, and they only managed that by partnering with the religious right. At least that’s how I see it. (I campaigned for Buckley for Mayor of NYC – he would have been superb I think.)

      You’re right of course – Galt was Atlas Shrugged. Fountainhead was Roarke. And the new movie is Atlas Shrugged and thus not a remake!!! I haz me some correctin’ to do . . . .


  2. Hey Moe, thanks for this one.
    We’ve really got to get people, conservative or not, away from Ayn Rand.


  3. I’m going to outnerd Sean. Goldwater carried more than 1 state. I’m pretty sure he won in at least AZ, Mississippi, and Alabam, and I think maybe one or two other southern states. Nothing to be proud of as he was winning because he opposed the civil right law of 1964.

    That 7 hour speech, apparently those Rand supermen also had bladders like a septic tank.

    Rand was a militant atheist, and I don’t think that would have flown with Buckley.


    • You’re right bruce, I”m wrong. I’m getting clobbered in this thread!

      Indeed Goldwater carried SIX states – AZ and the deepest south. And much as it pains me to point it out here, the only candidate who ever actually lost 49 states was Walter Mondale in ’84. Reagan swept with 49 states.


  4. McGovern in ’72 only won two states: Minnesota, and Mass. and DC.


  5. Ah, 2 of my favorites…..not that I agreed with them.
    Although, even Hitler had SOME good ideas.


  6. One more; from wiki. “I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.”

    And just realized – she does not understand that reason is a tool, not a foundation or base. You start with values and then apply reason. To isolate a concept of reason as supreme is sheer nonsense. What a cruel and silly lady.


    • Good point.

      Reason is a means to an end, the part of the brain that allows you to rationally persue a goal. What you value, or should value is an ethical question.

      I think it comes from the heart and the spirit.


  7. I found Ayn’s writing style quite predictable and boring.
    “Atlas Shrugged” was such a thick book it came with it’s own zip-code, and she could of made her point(s) in 1/3 of the words, without all the wild capitalistic fantasy characters.
    John Galt, and other “self-made” men are pure fantasy.
    The best men admit the truth, their friends and family are what made them great people.

    Buckley? The guy had BALLZ. I liked the guy. Hated a lot of what he stood for, but really ended up respecting him. Can’t say that for Ayn.


    • Buckley was hard NOT to like – he was who he was and he was an original thinker and he had a discernable moral code that wasn’t all 17th century like today’s conservatives.


  8. I think it was Robert Anton Wilson who said he was convinced Rand was really the lost Romanov princess Anastasia…

    And I admit, when I was 15, I was a huge fan…


  9. Atlas Shrugged came out while I was in high school. I think I read it before I graduated and was absolutely enthralled of course. Ditto Fountainhead. But I got over it.


  10. And what’s wrong with the 17th century, Moe???


  11. brucetheeconomist: Just an historical correction: Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act because it didn’t go far enough.


    • steve:

      You’re partly right – Goldwater supported and voted FOR all civil rights legislation prior to the 1964 bill. But by ’64 he was running for president and needed the South, so – according to Wikipedia:

      In 1964, Goldwater ran a conservative campaign that emphasized “states’ rights.”[15] Goldwater’s 1964 campaign was a magnet for conservatives since he opposed interference by the federal government in state affairs. Although he had supported all previous federal civil rights legislation and had supported the original senate version of the bill, Goldwater made the decision to oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His stance was based on his view that the act was an intrusion of the federal government into the affairs of states and, second, that the Act interfered with the rights of private persons to do business, or not, with whomever they chose.[16]


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