Ayn Rand ( February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her best-selling novels and for developing a philosophical system called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand emigrated to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935-1936. She first achieved fame with The Fountainhead (1943), and her best-known work – the philosophical novel Atlas Shrugged – was published in 1957.
Hailing from aristocratic stock, her family fled Russia to escape the Bolshevik revolution. It was probably her experiences in Russia that inspired her to develop her reactionary politics in later life.
Rand's political views, reflected in both her fiction and her theoretical work, emphasize individual rights (including private property rights) and laissez-faire capitalism, enforced by constitutionally limited government. She was a fierce opponent of all forms of collectivism and statism,including fascism, communism, and the welfare state. She was also an atheist, and promoted ethical egoism (which she termed "rational self-interest" as energetically as she condemned altruism (which she called "moral cannibalism").
Rand was in many ways a person of self contradiction. She espoused the rights of the individual yet equally her social philosophy failed to acknowledge that the 'freedom' of the market encroaches on this. She was notably anti-racist, but was cited as being homophobic. On sexism, she is known as once saying "I hope I never live to see a female president".
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