D. N. Byrne
Independent Researcher
Two recently published oral histories highlight the long-term trend concerning the mainstreaming of Objectivism, the political and economic ideas of the libertarian conservative writer and ideologue, Ayn Rand. Scott McConnell’s sympathetic interview collection focuses on supporters and acquaintances from Rand’s active period in the 1960s and 1970s. These supporters and acquaintances include former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, who provides McConnell with his considered views concerning Rand. Gary Weiss’s critical interview collection focusses on her more recent supporters, with one displeased and insightful interviewee to be found in both collections. Weiss’s collection reveals the role played by Objectivists in galvanizing the focus of the populist Tea Party movement. Both oral histories reveal the role played by the media and popular culture in mainstreaming Rand’s views. The review ends by comparing Randolph Stow’s socially responsive individualism as described in his novel 'Tourmaline' with Rand’s transactional individualism as described in 'Atlas Shrugged.'
Keywords conservatism  libertarianism  individualism  Objectivism  social democracy  Tea Party  Ayn Rand  Randolph Stow  oral history  Malcolm Fraser
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