Sunday, February 06, 2005
One thing about my personality, which my encounter with Ayn Rand only increased, is that I am a hero-worshipper. I love great people. But the attitude of so many people is that no person is truly great. In many cases, this is a function of the smallness of their own souls. A bigger person is able to do like my friend Bruce Herschensohn: the first words I ever spoke to him were “What do you think of Ayn Rand?” “Oh, she’s great,” he said. “The queen of libertarianism. There are some things I disagree with her about; I believe in God, for instance. But she’s a great writer, and she says a lot of good things.”
Aside from teaching me to demand to know the reasons when people say things about morality and politics and things, Rand taught me that it is possible to be a spiritual atheist. It is possible to have grandeur without magic. It is possible to love, and to strive, and to achieve and to be something real, without buying into the mundane values and the murky, “moderate” thinking that surrounds us. There’s a line in Thus Spake Zarathustra which Rand repeats (without attribution) in Atlas Shrugged: “Do not throw away the hero in your soul.” That is the spirit of Rand’s greatest work.