Book Review

O’Connor on Burns’s Goddess of the Market

Review of Jennifer Burns’s Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (Oxford University Press, 2009). ISBN: 978-0-19-532487-7 (hardcover). 384 pp., 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4.

Review by Mike O’Connor
Georgia State University

As a young, naïve and impressionable college freshman, I fancied myself as sallying forth into the wide world of intellectual discourse, and drank shallowly from a large number of pools. I chanted with a quasi-Buddhist group until they asked me for money, was disappointed in the lack of clarity in the goals of the university socialist organization, and stuck with the chorus for an entire year. But one group whose meetings I did not attend was the Objectivist Society; I found their sign on the campus bulletin board puzzling to the point of being disturbing.

Objectivism is the name that novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982) had given to her body of thought. Rand took a rather exclusionary tone and strident attitude to intellectual discourse, and her campus followers had evidently followed in her footsteps. Rather than offering free pizza or other inducements in the fashion of many such organizations, the Objectivists instead challenged any interested parties to prove their worthiness. Would-be Objectivists were confronted with three fundamental principles that they must accept. First, one must…[Continue here]