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Government & Politics   >   Political Ideas – Ayn Rand

Divisive Rand

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Political Ideas – Ayn Rand

In this course, Dr Neil Cocks (University of Reading) explores the life, works, and core ideas of Ayn Rand. In the first module, we are introduced to the controversial figure of Ayn Rand and consider her influence on contemporary political life. In the second module, we look more closely at her life and works, situating the latter within the former and illuminating, where possible, her political outlook with biographical detail. In the third module we discuss Rand’s core ideas, including her anti-statism, her celebration of ‘selfishness’, and her notion of life as a ‘value’. In the fourth module, we compare Rand to Hayek, putting Rand in context with a broader school of conservative thinkers and focusing in particular on where her ideas converge and deviate from theirs. In the fifth module, we explore Rand’s problematic approach to racism and ask what this can tell us about wider issues with her philosophical approach. Then, in the sixth and final module, we conclude with an introduction to some of the strange alliances and rifts that Randian philosophy produces.

Divisive Rand

In this module, we are introduced to the controversial figure of Ayn Rand, focusing in particular on: (i) her influence on contemporary political life; (ii) her popularity with a variety of prominent political figures from Steve Jobs to Sajid Javid; (iii) attacks on her work from both the right and the left, including Whittaker Chamber’s condemnation of Atlas Shrugged in ‘National Review’, the leading conservative publication of the time, as a ‘remarkably silly book’.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Cocks, N. (2021, November 26). Political Ideas – Ayn Rand - Divisive Rand [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Cocks, N. "Political Ideas – Ayn Rand – Divisive Rand." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Nov 2021,

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Dr Neil Cocks

Dr Neil Cocks

Reading University