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Conservative Darling Ayn Rand Died Loving Government Handouts

A new book reveals that Ayn Rand, the late conservative author and opponent of the welfare state, actually relied quite heavily on welfare programs.


Of the welfare state, the conservative philosopher and author Ayn Rand once wrote, "Morally and economically, the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull." As it turns out, however, toward the end of her life, Rand ended up relying quite heavily on its help.

According to the new book An Oral History of Ayn Rand, faced with lung cancer after a life spent smoking, and without the wealth needed to combat that cancer, Rand adopted an assumed name to seek government funds for her treatment.


An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand's law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand's behalf she secured Rand's Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O'Connor (husband Frank O'Connor).

As Pryor said, "Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out" without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn "despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently... She didn't feel that an individual should take help."

This calls to mind another famous Rand quote: "A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom."

photo via Wikimedia Commons

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