Regarding Barry S. Rosenthal’s complaint that Joel E. Siegel’s understanding of Ayn Rand’s “philosophy,” such as it is, is shallow (The Mail, 5/2): There is no depth to Rand’s “philosophy” beyond Rand herself.

She collected ideas that suited her purposes (which is to say, justified her behaviors) and cut and pasted them into the various patterns of her “philosophy,” and then presented it as an “integrated system of thought.” However, when her personality is removed from the mix, nothing remains but the metaphysical treasures of a magpie.

As the film A Sense of Life demonstrates, Rand herself was an incredibly accomplished individual. She is probably the most important intellectual influence of the boomer generation, if not of the Robert McNamara “Whiz Kid” era. Both Clinton and Gingrich essentially express her values and employ her methods of analysis exclusive of broader, systemic thinking. She is the voice of the “Me Generation.” Anytime you hear a politician use the term “passionate,” s/he is paying direct homage to Rand’s influence. In fact, the only time A Sense of Life comes to life (it is a painfully stagnant film) is when Rand is featured. Her mind is an incredible instrument. Watching it work in this film was worth the price of admission.

But she is not a philosopher.

Adams Morgan

via the Internet