|Ms. Branden, |
You said this:
For years, I've seen many people do precisely this with Ayn Rand's ideas. That is, they use her ideas in their speaking or writing -- but prefer not to be embarrassed by giving credit to the originator. After all, she may not be popular with their audience, so why make trouble for oneself? I've seen whole books made possible only by Rand's ideas, but the writer is much too careful of his reputation to acknowledge the source. If ARI would despise someone who did this to Rand, why is it any better to do it to someone they don't like?I couldn't agree more, and I'm glad you actually put this out on the table. Even Rand herself was admirable enough to give credit to those before her that she owed a debt of gratitude to, like Aristotle. Too many people don't mention or keep track of who their philosophical mentors are, and create the illusion that they have created something new out of nothing that came before, as if they were God or something.
However, I think that in certain occasions where I might want to get a very important one of Rand's ideas across without setting off some knee-jerk, prejudicial reaction in people by mentioning her name, I could say something like this in a speech, until actually questioned for the source of the quote:
A great 20th century writer and philosopher once wrote: "Contradictions do not exist; whenever you think you are faced with a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong."This way, I could pre-emptively get past their invalid and prejudicial objections to what they have been told by others that Ayn Rand is really all about, and succeed in presenting to them a liberating new approach to life.
Once I've presented the idea, if someone were to say to me afterwards, "Hey, I really loved that quote; where's it from?" I could then say the name Ayn Rand to them, at which point they would either be hearing a wonderful new name, or hearing a name that they only thought they knew.