While chatting with our resident Rand worshipper Wajoma in the "Gabby" thread, it came up that one of Rand's books, We the Living was on Arizona shooter Jared Loughner's list of favorite books. Wajoma wasn't too crazy (please don't use that part of the sentence out of context) about that work preferring the more well know Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged but did praise the "eye searing clarity and logic" of Rand's non-fiction.
Well in looking through articles on Rand I found some interesting pieces discussing her admiration for 1920's child killer William Edward Hickman, who was the serve as a model for the main character in one of her novels (which, thankfully, was never finished). She wrote extensively regarding Hickman in her journals. One writer summarized these writing as follows:
The best way to get to the bottom of Ayn Rand's beliefs is to take a look at how she developed the superhero of her novel, Atlas Shrugged, John Galt. Back in the late 1920s, as Ayn Rand was working out her philosophy, she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, Rand was so smitten with Hickman that she modeled her first literary creation -- Danny Renahan, the protagonist of her unfinished first novel, The Little Street -- on him.
What did Rand admire so much about Hickman? His sociopathic qualities: "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should," she wrote, gushing that Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'"
This echoes almost word for word Rand's later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: "He was born without the ability to consider others."
There is another longer piece with many excerpts from her journals considering the character she was modelling after Hickman. It contains this rather eye popping statement about society's reaction to his crime i.e. kidnapping, murder and dismemberment of a child:
"The first thing that impresses me about the case is the ferocious rage of a whole society against one man. No matter what the man did, there is always something loathsome in the 'virtuous' indignation and mass-hatred of the 'majority.'... It is repulsive to see all these beings with worse sins and crimes in their own lives, virtuously condemning a criminal...
"This is not just the case of a terrible crime. It is not the crime alone that has raised the fury of public hatred. It is the case of a daring challenge to society. It is the fact that a crime has been committed by one man, alone; that this man knew it was against all laws of humanity and intended that way; that he does not want to recognize it as a crime and that he feels superior to all. It is the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul."
Does anybody think these "observations" of Rand are notable for their "eye searing clarity and logic"? Is the reaction of society to someone who commits such terrible crimes really as objectionable as Rand finds it? What "worse sins and crimes in their own lives" have the majority committed which make their indignation at the thought of such criminal acts "loathsome"?
Rand's contempt for society and the will of the majority is well-known, but aren't these comments almost pathological in nature?