From a review — by TNR editor Adam Kirsch — of "Ayn Rand and the World She Made." (Buy the book here — and make an automatic contribution, without paying extra, to this blog, on which I've worked for almost 6 years without a single day's break, kept going on amphetamines and willpower... or no, not amphetamines. Not even willpower. Just the love of writing... and coffee, surely, and — lately — Meadamines.)
From the review:
When Bennett Cerf, a head of Random House, begged her to cut Galt’s speech, Rand replied with what Heller calls “a comment that became publishing legend”: “Would you cut the Bible?” One can imagine what Cerf thought — he had already told Rand plainly, “I find your political philosophy abhorrent” — but the strange thing is that Rand’s grandiosity turned out to be perfectly justified.Where is the contradiction? She gave up 7¢ for each copy sold, but did she not hope to sell more copies? And did she not see long term profit in promoting capitalism? Kirsh's point is that Rand was at heart an intellectual and not a capitalist:
In fact, any editor certainly would cut the Bible, if an agent submitted it as a new work of fiction. But Cerf offered Rand an alternative: if she gave up 7 cents per copy in royalties, she could have the extra paper needed to print Galt’s oration. That she agreed is a sign of the great contradiction that haunts her writing and especially her life. Politically, Rand was committed to the idea that capitalism is the best form of social organization invented or conceivable.
... Rand had no more reverence for the actual businessmen she met than most intellectuals do. The problem was that, according to her own theories, the executives were supposed to be as creative and admirable as any artist or thinker. They were part of the fraternity of the gifted, whose strike, in “Atlas Shrugged,” brings the world to its knees.Kirsh, like so many others — most of us Baby Boomers? — is, I think, deeply invested in the notion that businessmen are boring and uncreative. I've long had this image in my head. And this says it well: