Dick Cavett Shares His Take On Ayn Rand
Credit: jvdalton
January 2, 2015

I never did buy into Ayn Rand, even when I was a kid. I'm one of those people who will read almost anything if a smart person enthuses about it, and the smart person in this case was my brother's best friend Joe. So I read "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead," and thought they were silly. (Joe was appalled, I think.) Not because I was so brilliant or insightful about her hollow philosophy, but because at 13, I was already well read and recognized that her characters were so flat and poorly written.

So this story appeals to me. Elon Green was interviewing Dick Cavett for the New Yorker, and they got into a discussion of being obsessed with books, how there wasn't enough time to get to all of the good ones. That's when Cavett shared his take on Ayn Rand. Since it didn't make it into the final interview, Green posted it on his site.

So this one's for the readers:

CAVETT: [...] You can piss away valuable hours of your life reading Ayn Rand—her wretched appeal to the young, her wretched writing, her wretched person.

She was supposed to be on my show; I was kind of sorry she wasn’t, because I was kind of laying for her. I did not succumb, as a kid, to being enthused by Ayn Rand, and that sense of power, as every kid was at one time until they outgrew it. The old bag sent over a list of fifteen conditions for appearing with me, or for appearing with anyone, I guess. One of them was, “There will be no disagreeing with Ms. Rand’s philosophy.”

GREEN: You’re kidding.

CAVETT: No! I wrote at the bottom of the list, to be sent back to her, “There will be no Ms. Rand, either.”

Imagine. Rand's philosophy was so badly reasoned, she couldn't talk about it.

There's your Republican party, in a nutshell.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.