March 6, 1982 — Ayn Rand dies

The first prophet of Objectivism, the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead”, and one of the most influential fantasy writers of the twentieth century, Ayn Rand was 77 years old when she died. The medical diagnosis was heart failure; on a more metaphorical level, it’s pretty clear that a writer who so baldly espoused selfishness as the greatest moral good had experienced a failure to have a heart some decades earlier.

Rand was a contradictory and divisive figure in American politics – she opposed the Vietnam War but condemned draft dodgers; she thought homosexuality was “disgusting” and “immoral” but still supported its decriminalisation, she believed in “free love” but was notoriously jealous and possessive of her lovers, she was an atheist who became a darling of the Christian Right – and she was a staunch critic of the welfare state.

She died supported by government benefits, as she could not afford medical treatment on her own.

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