Over the years, a lot of people have asked, in conjunction with discussions regarding my fascination with the work of Steve Ditko, who Ayn Rand is and what her theory of objectivism means. I've had many discussions regarding the writer and her philosophy (a philosophy that I find more on-target that many, by the way, although I tend to blend it with the Hindu concepts of dharma and karma in the structure of my own ethos), but rarely have I found anyone explain the interrelationship of Rand and Ditko more clearly than Robby Reed (is that his real name? Here's his answer to that question: Let's just say that if my name were not actually Robby Reed, it would be remarkably close, particularly the initials. I prefer to let my work on this site speak for itself. How very Ditko-ish of me!") at his Dial B for Blog site. The Ditko/Rand discussion begins here, and you can follow the links to enjoy the entire analysis.
Basically, I find Rand's emphatic Aristotelian assertion that "A is A" to be an essential that is more often than not overlooked or ignored in today's society. From discussion of illegal immigration to taxation to personal responsibility to capitalism to Katrina "victims" to art to religion, I find that Rand's idea serves as a philosophical razor that cuts away the detritus. I admire Howard Roark; I salute John Galt; I respect Prometheus. I find it interesting that authors such as Kurt Vonnegut also found Randian objectivism to be appealing (he expresses his admiration for the concept quite clearly in the short story "Harrison Bergeron"). I find Galt's observation that society has "sacrificed justice to mercy" to be a telling condemnation of the flaws of our modern world, and a political system in which egregious theft is justified because "we're doing it for the kids," or "we're helping the less fortunate," or "everyone, regardless of skill, deserves a 'living wage.'"
If you're not familiar with Rand, or if you'd like to know more about Ditko's career beyond Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, this is a must-read.