The pending release of Atlas Shrugged to the big screen will open up the Ayn Rand philosophy of objectivism to a whole new generation. For many people, the literary works of Rand may seem daunting and this big screen adaptation might be just the thing to lure more people to the Ayn Rand Institute. For those who consider themselves objectivists, the devotion to Ayn Rand can be a personal one. For every famous person who declares allegiance to Rand's philosophy, there are dozens more who worry about public perception if they were to out themselves as objectivists. Rand's philosophy of objectivism penetrates all social, racial and economic classes and gives anyone with a rational mind equal footing. There are many famous objectivists and Alan Greenspan, Neil Peart and Steve Ditko number among the most famous.
The former Federal Reserve Chairman has been a Rand devotee from the earliest years of the developing philosophy. Greenspan was once of the original "Inner Circle" and frequently attended readings at Ayn's New York apartment. He authored many stories and letters defending objectivism and Ayn Rand and also became a lecturer with the Nathaniel Branden Institute delivering talks on free market economy. His writings also appeared in an essay collection compiled and published by Rand. While it is unclear about Greenspan's current status as an objectivist, he clearly was with the movement from the earliest and most influential years.
Canadian rocker Neil Peart may seem an unlikely objectivist, but it only shows how widespread the philosophy of Ayn Rand's has come. The drummer for Rush has incorporated the objectivist philosophy into both song lyrics and album design as a member of Rush. The album 2112 (Rush's first real smash) was deeply seeded with Rand tributes. From the dedication "to the genius of Ayn Rand" to the dystopian future depicted in the song 2112, the album is steeped with objectivist symbolism. Even the now famous Starman logo, which first appeared on 2112, was described by Peart as being man against the masses with the red star symbolizing collectivist mentality. The title and theme of another Ayn Rand work, the novella Anthem, was used as source material for the song of the same name on the album Fly By Night.
Legendary comic artist Ditko was the creator of Dr. Strange and the co-creator of Spiderman, but it was through his comic creations Mr. A and The Question that Ditko was able to act as a mouthpiece most clearly for the cause of objectivism. Ditko clearly had a bit of the Fountainhead's Howard Roark in him as he walked away from several choice titles all in the name of refusing to sacrifice integrity or work with people he believed to not be principled. Mainstream success with either Mr. A or The Question eluded Ditko, but, again, he stuck to his beliefs and did it his way.
The philosophy of objectivism continues to have critics. The strong belief in capitalism and lack of moral obligation to help mankind can rub some people in society the wrong way. For many famous objectivists this is reason enough to stay closeted. Bold and proud objectivists like Ditko, Peart and Greenspan have managed to live very public lives with Ayn Rand and her belief system of objectivism close to the heart. If Atlas Shrugged is a box office smash, the future may open up for many famous people to embrace their objectivist beliefs in a public setting and continue Ayn Rand's legacy well into the future..