Ayn Rand has been surging in popularity lately for a variety of reasons, none of them good. She claimed one of her goals in writing Atlas Shrugged was to keep it from becoming a prophecy, but I can swear at times that some of the current politicians grew up admiring Randian villains. Be that as it may, conservatives and libertarians have a love-hate relationship with Rand's work, dismissing her as a flake one moment and claiming her as their own the next. Both attitudes are misguided. Rand does have a lot to offer, but her philosophy is unique and does not fit comfortably into any of the usual labels.
In this podcast, I address the most common criticisms of Objectivism (selfishness and altruism mean something entirely different in Rand's world, but because she was not a leftist, she had not been able to re-define the language) and add some of my own based on my reading of both Rand's fiction and assorted essays.
Later on we talk Objectivism in other fiction, including non-Objectivist authors who have similar themes (the answer will shock you!) and finally the burning question of whether Iron Man or Captain America would make a better Randian hero.
The link to the broadcast is here. Apologies for the low sound quality. The show was pre-recorded for scheduling reasons and I was using less than stellar equipment. Please feel free to comment with follow-up questions and I will answer them as soon as I'm able.