I just finished the audiobook of Anthem, one of Ayn Rand’s early novels. Although I avidly read Ayn Rand in my teen years, I don’t remember reading this.
What struck me is just how little daylight there was between Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche. Rand’s Prometheus is basically just a younger version of Zarathustra, ranting against the rule of the “botched and weak” and worshiping the “I.” Of course, Prometheus names his mate “Gaia,” after the manner of modern “atheists.” Like the “new” atheists, Prometheus asserts his uniqueness in the face of the mindless herd, which follows a slave morality. His personal will is supreme, even if he intentionally joins a community of like-minded individuals.
These themes in Rand do not surprise me, of course; what surprises me is how worshipfully conservative Christians regard Rand, even while they spit on Nietzsche. How many sermons I have heard in which the speaker whines about Nietzsche (along with Darwin, Marx, and Freud) causing modern decadence, atheism, abortion, mass murder, homosexuality, feminism, and puppy mills! Well, actually, I can’t remember anyone mentioning puppy-torturers, but I’m sure it was just an oversight.
Yet, Rand’s writings are considered sacred. John Galt is held up as the epitome of the modern evangelical Christian. Just today I skimmed past yet another article by a Galtista threatening to work less if he is taxed too much. What a hypocrite. To these complainers I say: quit your $300,000-a-year job and start delivering pizzas. You’ll be happier because you can easily hide your tip money from the IRS. I guarantee that you are not indispensable in your “middle-class” job; someone else will do the same work for less money.
Why would Rand be idolized while Nietzsche is burned in effigy? It probably has something to do with the fact that Nietzsche’s most famous admirer was the violently anti-communist leader of WWII Germany. Sure, Rand was anti-communist, but she was a good anti-communist, since she was atheist rather than pagan. Anyway, that’s the best explanation I’ve got.