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February 2010

Ayn Rand: engineer of souls

by Anthony Daniels

A critical account of the "Chernyshevsky of individualism."

Love thy ego as thyself. —Leonard Peikoff

My copy of The Concept of Benevolence by T. A. Roberts, in the series New Studies in Practical Philosophy, was deaccessioned from a university library. The librarian took advantage of the fact that it had not been borrowed since October 17, 1977, only four years after its publication, to disembarrass his institution of yet another book so uselessly cluttering up the library shelves. It was carefully endorsed with ugly withdrawal stamps to reduce its resale value to an absolute minimum. Perhaps the librarian was a follower of Ayn Rand, the apostle of selfishness, who did not want youth corrupted by stray thoughts of altruism. Going from the loan history of the book (and from my casual observations of British youth), there was never much danger of this, but it is always better to be safe than sorry and therefor ...

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Anthony Daniels's most recent book is In Praise of Prejudice (Encounter Books).


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 28 February 2010, on page 4

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