Ayn Rand: Speed addict?
The author of The Fountainhead inspired millions to trust their minds and never "fake reality" — while regularly popping amphetamines, says Charles Murray in The Claremont Review of Books.
Ayn Rand made "a big deal about living a life that was the embodiment of her philosophy [Objectivism]," says Charles Murray in The Claremont Review of Books. She believed man's highest calling is to look out for his own self-interest — by trusting in his own judgment and, in Rand's words, by never attempting "to fake reality in any manner." Rand's ideas have influenced millions, and the rise of the Tea Party movement—which sees Rand as a champion in the fight to get the government out of people's lives—has further fueled her popularity. Still, says Murray, two new biographies — Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns, and Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller — suggest that Rand wasn't always as genuine as she claimed. Here, an excerpt:
"There was her 30-year use of amphetamines, beginning with Benzedrine in 1942, as she was rushing to complete The Fountainhead, and continuing with Dexedrine and Dexamyl into the 1970s. Until now it has been described as a two-pill-a-day prescription for weight control, but evidence in Heller's book indicates that it wasn't seen that way by everyone. As early as 1945, her then-close friend, journalist Isabel Paterson, was berating her in letters with passages such as, 'Stop taking that benzedrine, you idiot. I don't care what excuse you have — stop it.' Heller presents other evidence that Rand had periods of heavy use in the 1950s and '60s. But the exact extent of her dependence on amphetamines is peripheral here to the broader self-delusion. As anyone who has had the experience knows, a good way to get a really, really distorted sense of reality is to swallow a couple of Dexedrines. If you want to take them anyway, don't go around bragging that you never 'fake reality in any manner.'"