Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation

Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation

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Chris Sciabarra

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In this provocative work—a combination philosophical exegesis, sociological study, and political tract—author Chris Matthew Sciabarra explores Ayn Rand's impact on the sexual attitudes of self-identified Objectivists in the movement to which she gave birth and the gay subcultures that she would have disowned. Sciabarra's study challenges Rand's conventional attitudes toward homosexuality and reclaims her legacy for a human liberation that is open to all rational men and women—of whatever sexual orientation.

Sciabarra is the author of the "Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy," which includes "Marx, Hayek, and Utopia" (1995, State University of New York Press), "Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical" (Penn State Press, 1995; second edition: 2013); and "Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism" (Penn State Press, 2000). He is also a founding coeditor of "The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies," (debuted in 1999; a Penn State Press periodical since 2013).

For more information on this monograph, see its home page at: http://homorandian.com

Here's what some of the reviewers have said about this pathbreaking monograph:

"Rand's Objectivism continues to attract strong individualists who differ from the heterosexual norm. Among the people Sciabarra interviews, ... members of the movement are more able than Rand to separate personal judgments of taste and value from rational judgments of moral and ethical behavior. ... The most fascinating part to me is the section 'Male Bonding in the Randian Novel,' in which Sciabarra and others describe Rand's view of 'love' between the men in her novels as confused, even self-contradictory. I remember thinking when I read 'The Fountainhead' and 'Atlas Shrugged,' 'If this weren't Rand, I'd swear there were homoerotic overtones here.' Apparently, others have had the same thought. You might be surprised to read what Rand had to say about the relationship between Wynand and Roark. I certainly was! ... To make moral pronouncements based on personal taste is contrary to the individualism that was Rand's signature personality trait and the cornerstone of her philosophy of life. ... Sciabarra calls for a new understanding of Objectivism that identifies sexuality as simply one more dimension of diversity that strong-minded individualists can celebrate." — Patrick Quealy, Liberty Magazine

"The full monograph stands at sixty-two pages long. Although very interesting on its own terms, the book inadvertently serves mostly to support a principle we may express as an epigram: 'The mere touch of a giant raises welts on an ordinary person.' The giant is Ayn Rand (and to a lesser extent, Nathaniel Branden). The ordinary people are the gay and lesbian Objectivists they touched with their wrong-headed remarks about homosexuality being 'immoral' and 'disgusting.' Sciabarra's book is a chronicle of gigantic misbehavior and ordinary injuries, but it also holds out some hope for a new generation." — Kurt Keefner, The Atlasphere

Rand's "strongly negative view of homosexuality . . . influenced many of her followers, leading some gays to remain in the closet or try therapy in the vain hope of changing their orientation. . . . Untangling the story of how Rand's views were gradually put aside or corrected by her successors is the subject of a new monograph by New York University scholar Chris Matthew Sciabarra, 'Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation.' ... As it turns out, Rand's gripping novels and some of her essays seem destined to have a long and productive influence, while her incidental personal preferences and tastes are likely to be completely forgotten by the next generation. No one could wish things otherwise." — Paul Varnell, Chicago Free Press

"Chris Sciabarra's discussion of homosexuality and the moralistic, unreasoning rage unleashed against it—and against Dr. Sciabarra—by a small number of self-appointed guardians of the 'one true Objectivist faith' almost make it embarrassing to admit that one has any past or present association with Objectivism. The booklet is an expose of cultism at its most hysterical." — Nathaniel Branden

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