Ayn Rand is a polarizing figure. Still, I have to give it to her. I first read her book Anthem as a teenager. For anyone who felt out of place, stifled in their upbringing, ambitious, industrious, pining for autonomy, she spoke to you in a deep, uncompromising way. She saw you, and identified something in the human spirit - a beautiful torch yearning for for freedom inside every individual.
Yes, we can debate the merits of her libertarianism, and her single-minded eccentricities. But like most they-just-can't-be-ignored thinkers, her importance stemmed from her clarity. Life is a single-player game, and no one's writings better honored the individual's sovereignty and sanctity.
And I wouldn't fully trust anyone with whom her ideas didn't resonate.
Quote from Anthem.
"This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.
It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect."