The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Vol. 10, No. 2
latter choices, he foreshadows Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and the novels of Ayn Rand.”
Science fiction writer China Mieville (2002) is less flattering in evaluating Rand’s writings: “This panoply of portentous Nietzchean- ism lite. . . .” Colin Barth (2004) adds a negative moral evaluation to the charge of Rand’s being an intellectual lightweight: “It was impossible to liken Rand to Nietzsche, but only because Rand was a child in comparison (though not in innocence or playfulness).” And
Abiola Lapite (2005) concludes that Rand’s continuing only be explained in terms of juvenile psychology: “the
appeal can Nietzsche-
aping, pulp shipped by
fiction writing, self-promoting egotist who millions of callow teenagers and Peter Pans
is still wor- worldwide.”
None of the above quotations are from professional philoso- phers. But they are from intelligent journalists, graduate students in philosophy, and political commentators, and they speak to a reputa- tion common to Nietzsche and Rand.
Many academics will say much the same thing: “Most philosophy professors will tell you that Ayn Rand is a poor man’s Nietzsche” (Lee 2004). The late Allan Bloom (1987) is representative: “When I first noticed the decline in reading during the late sixties, I began asking my large introductory classes, and any other group of younger students to which I spoke, what books really count for them. . . . There is always a girl who mentions Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, a book, though hardly literature, which, with its sub-Nietzschean assertiveness, excites somewhat eccentric youngsters to a new way of life” (62).
There is another parallel between Nietzsche and Rand in the judgments made about both by philosophers who were their contem-
poraries. When Nietzsche philology at the University of professors of philosophy told
was a young professor Basel in Switzerland, the their students not to take
of classical university’s Nietzsche’s
a philosopher: philology at the
“For a time, University of
Nietzsche, then professor of classical Basle, had no students in his field. His
lectures advised (Cowan
were their 1962,
sabotaged by German students not to show 4).
philosophy professors who up for Nietzsche’s courses”