I rarely (well, almost never) hear stories about Ayn Rand in the mainstream media that I think are basically fair — stories in which Rand isn't grossly misrepresented or caricatured in some way. Usually these stories are very negative. Rarely, they try to gloss over her faults or the more controversial aspects of her thought.
A really good exposition on Rand, or any other thinker for that matter, should leave the audience with more or less the same impression that they would get from an encounter with the original. If you don't like what you hear about Ayn Rand in this story, you probably won't like her, either . If you do like what you hear, or if you just find it intriguing, then you should definitely read further.
And if you've heard that Ayn Rand just wanted to spit on the poor and the downtrodden, you might want to read this post from the blog Classically Liberal :
Consider what happened when Ayn Rand came across the Kato family. These Japanese-Americans were incarcerated in racially-based concentration camps by the "benevolent" administration of Franklin Roosevelt…
[T]he Kato family had lost everything. Ryoji Kato lost his business when he was arrested due to his ethnicity. His wife Haruno had worked in their business as well. They also lost their home. Once they were released they had nothing left. Daughter June was staying in church-run hostel that was helping people from the camps trying to regain their life. Younger brother Ken was with his parents. Rand certainly knew what this felt like. Her father lost his business to the Bolsheviks the same way Mr. Kato lost his business to FDR. Her family lost their home and she was a refugee as well.
At the time, Rand and husband, Frank O'Connor, lived in a rural area north of Los Angeles, now part of Chatsworth. Rand hired Haruno as a cook—even though June says her mother couldn't cook very well and in spite of Rand already having a cook. Ryoji was also hired to help Frank with the flowers that he grew on the property—even though he had no previous experience gardening. Ten-year-old Ken was a bit young to be hired for anything. As for June, though she had just graduated high school, and had no experience, Rand hired her as well, to come to the house every weekend and do typing. In addition to paying a salary to June, Ryoji and Haruno, Rand also gave the family two rooms in her house so they a place to live. Damn, apparently she didn't know that generosity was against her own philosophy. No one told her. But then, she was such a monster, who would dare? In addition to the Kato family another resident in Rand's home was Maria Strachova, an elderly refugee who had taught Rand English as a child. Rand took her in for a year.
Read on for several other examples, as if this weren't enough. Ayn Rand was quite possibly more generous, in more ways, than most of the people who damn her for being ungenerous.
Tomorrow: NPR talks Friedrich Hayek. Seriously. After today, I'm surprised to say I'm looking forward to it.