I was introduced to  Ayn Rand's work in 1984 by Lou Torres, who had founded Aristos, an arts journal informed by her philosophy of art, two years before. Until then, I had known of Rand only vaguely—and not favorably—as the controversial author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Politically, I was decidedly left of center. Business was suspect in my view.
It is  Ayn Rand 's awareness of rightful justice and liberty that goes to the core of things. I disagree with her psychology, her analysis of the corporation, and her assessment of the etiology and nature of ethical judgment.
A few years ago, I was sitting at a sushi bar in downtown Washington, D.C., reading a battered paperback copy of Atlas Shrugged while I munched on a California roll. The man next to me saw the cover and said, "Ah yes, Ayn Rand. Something everyone reads when they're young." He was infinitely condescending. "And sometimes even when they're older," I replied, but left it there.
  On September 12, 2004, the New York Times quoted sentencing-law expert Frank O. Bowman of Indiana University as saying: "There has not been a single case in the history of American criminal law with the immediate impact of this one." Benjamin Wittes, court commentator for the Washington Post, called the case "the single most irresponsible decision in the modern history of the Supreme Court."
Just as there is much to celebrate in the life of John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), so is there much to loathe in the muckrakers' treatment of him. I choose a single example: the story of "the widow Backus," who inherited a small oil-refining company when her husband died in 1874.


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