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Is Ayn Rand 'a Footnote to History'?

February 21, 1998

For Kenneth Turan to suggest that Ayn Rand ought to be "a footnote to history" because her "be^tes noires, the Soviet Union and the collectivism it insisted on, have just about disappeared off the face of the Earth" ("Dissent Shrugged in Rand Documentary," Feb. 13), is like saying that Harriet Beecher Stowe should be overlooked because the system "Uncle Tom's Cabin" argued against--slavery--no longer exists!

Of course the "defense of individualism . . . seems much less controversial now than it did half a century ago"--who does Turan think gave millions of ordinary people the intellectual ammunition to win this philosophical war?

VICTOR KOMAN

Fountain Valley

I suppose back in the 4th century BC some hack writer declared Aristotle a footnote to history, and now, over two millenniums later, we still celebrate and apply his concept of logic. Just as two millenniums from now, people will celebrate and apply Ayn Rand's concepts of objectivity and rational egoism.

TOM MAHON

Van Nuys

In his review of the documentary "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life," Turan asserts that "Objectivism, the philosophy she created and espoused, has not taken hold in any substantive way."

Nothing could be further from the truth. The man whose daily decisions literally hold the world's economy in the balance, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, is a former disciple of Rand's and an objectivist. The Libertarian Party, despite Rand's disapproval of it, was largely founded on the tenets of objectivism and remains steeped in objectivist philosophy. Of all the world's nonreligious philosophies, in fact, objectivism is the only one regularly discussed on the Internet in dedicated news groups. The dozens of actively frequented objectivism Web sites, the myriad Ayn Rand societies at colleges throughout the country and the unmistakable influence of Rand at more than a dozen major think tanks and public policy institutes constitutes a validation of objectivism's influence in society.

WADE MAJOR

Malibu

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