A tip of the hat to Michael Brendan Dougherty for this blistering evisceration of Ayn Rand:
In the abstract there would be something admirable about the determination of the heroes. But it is interesting that Rand sees familial attachment as the enemy of capitalist progress. Of course, historically, capitalism is a kind of acid on tribal societies. But to my mind, the most memorable scene of all in these first five chapters is the scene after Hank Rearden has poured his first round of his new super-metal; his life's work finally hitting the market. He is sitting with his family, and they are entirely uninterested in it. In fact, they hate him. They nag him constantly. They criticize him even as they live off the fruits of his labor and genius. They do not understand him and he does not understand them. They are obstacles and enemies. He almost pities them. In this way, even the simple bourgeois family is made into an enemy of the creative genius of the capitalist.
And this is where my moral differences with Rand seem to be peaking out most violently. Her novel is right that man's creative power is worthy of honor and that this honor is often impugned by the merely self-interested and lazy. What I find so nasty is that she only recognizes man's creative power and his ability to "take responsibility" (notice how everyone but the heroes scrupulously and explicitly avoids responsibility) in these über-capitalists, who bend and shape the world through commerce. That almost all humans are creating all the time -- small things, mostly, but real nonetheless -- seems to be beneath her Olympian notice. And that she contrasts the freedom and potency of demi-god capitalists with the stultifying confines of family is the most perverse from my perspective, because for the bulk of humanity, we most clearly imitate God as creative agents by making children together, and taking responsibility for those children. We co-create souls and have the awesome responsibility of shaping them. The family is the great fiery furnace in which people are forged. The place in my moral universe that is occupied by the manger and the Holy Family is in Rand's world occupied by a bank vault and a teller.