In Sunday’s Rationally Selfish Webcast, I discussed Ayn Rand alleged admiration for William Hickman. The question was:

Did Ayn Rand draw inspiration from the serial-killer William Hickman? I ask due to this article by Mark Ames on Alternet: “Ayn Rand, Hugely Popular Author and Inspiration to Right-Wing Leaders, Was a Big Admirer of Serial Killer.” According to the article, Rand idolized the serial killer William Hickman and used him as inspiration for the leads male characters in her books, notably Howard Roark. Also, Rand is said to seek an environment in which sociopaths like Hickman can thrive. Are these claims true or not? If so, would they affect the validity of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism?

Due to a hiccup in the internet, the beginning of the webcast recording for this question was missing. So I decided to re-record it. After a few painful trials, I was able to do so in one take, and then add some slides with the quotes in them. That took me a few extra hours, so if you think the video worthwhile, I’d be most grateful if you’d throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

Without further ado, here’s the video:

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  • Steven H. Wilson

    I just found this entry while searching for a more balanced discussion of Rand’s connection to Hickman. Thank you so much for an intelligent and impassioned analysis, and especially for including references to the original source material!

    • Diana Hsieh

      Thanks Steven!

  • David Alway

    Nice job. I liked it and then I “liked” it on You Tube. I was looking for a discussion about this topic and you analyzed it thoroughly.

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