So, in case you didn’t know, I’m a huge admirer of Ayn Rand. (And a few of you who did not know may have just defriended, unfollowed and generally banned my name from being spoken in your presence. I’m prepared to live with that.) Agree or disagree with her views, I don’t think you can claim that anyone in popular discourse (and certainly no other bestselling novelist) has quite so clearly presented the argument against collectivist thought as Ms. Rand. That’s why so many people dislike her work so intensely.
But I grew up being told that joining the herd, or letting others control you, is a bad thing. The herd mentality provided the motive force behind movements like Nazism and Soviet Communism. When I was growing up, everyone around me accepted that those philosophies were wrong. They were the philosophies of people who wanted to harm us. As I grew and developed my own personal moral philosophy, I concluded it was both sensible and moral to resist any attempt by others to make me conform to their ideals of what made a good person, or to make me live to serve their ends. When I discovered Ayn Rand’s powerful arguments, which supported what I believed, I became a fan. I especially loved Atlas Shrugged.