21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Revealing, and EXACTLY in the way her admirers think,
This review is from: Letters of Ayn Rand (Paperback)
I found this book tremendously inspiring, as inspiring as a great biography--because in a sense that is what it is. Ones sees that despite the negatives, Ayn Rand took joy in the great crusade of ideas that constituted her life. Through these letters the reader feels like he is participating in this drama.
The most interesting aspect is, in the Introduction's words, the "series of painful shocks" by which she came to realize the philosophical and moral bankruptcy of "the pitiful compromisers and anti-intellectual temporizers" known as conservatives. A few of them have posted reviews below. As comes out in those postings, conservatives want to "conserve" not only capitalism, but also the moral-philosophical status quo. This is evident in the logical structure of the arguments presented. An "actual" philosopher is presumed by them to be any representative of that Establishment, whereas a young person striving to come to an independent grasp of reality has got to be an unwitting victim. A novelist who solves an ancient problem (the is-ought gap) in the course of composing a character's climactic speech ("Well, I never! A speech in a novel! Who ever heard of such a thing?") is only starting to engage in "efforts" in philosophy when she refers to and cites that speech in the manner of a proper academic who is publishing before he perishes.
One hears the familiar drone of the conservative in another reviewer's condemnation of Rand's morality of rational self-interest as "justification for behaving in a[n] anti-social manner that is slowly destroying the fabric of the societies of the Western World."
One often hears it said about Objectivists (those who espouse Ayn Rand's philosophy) that "No disagreement with her writings is ever accepted and if you disagree you are an evil communist/collectivist." It is true that many of her admirers, notably among the young (who are especially fiery when it comes to ideals), act that way. But these LETTERS show that that was not Ayn Rand's own attitude when she believed the person was intellectually honest--witness her correspondence with, among many others, John Hospers.