Of the welfare state, the conservative philosopher and author Ayn Rand once wrote, “Morally and economically, the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull.” As it turns out, however, toward the end of her life, Rand ended up relying quite heavily on its help.

According to the new book An Oral History of Ayn Rand, faced with lung cancer after a life spent smoking, and without the wealth needed to combat that cancer, Rand adopted an assumed name to seek government funds for her treatment.

An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand’s law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand’s behalf she secured Rand’s Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O’Connor (husband Frank O’Connor).

As Pryor said, “Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out” without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn “despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently… She didn’t feel that an individual should take help.”

This calls to mind another famous Rand quote: “A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom.”

photo via Wikimedia Commons

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MagneticMan
Ayn Rand was a Futurist, Visionary. The Truth is…I am sure she understood in the context of the Universe that everything about life should be free. Food, Shelter, Clothing and a roof over your head. Unfortunatly we live in an over popuated world. I am sure she also believed in Compassion, Love and the persuit of Happiness. Another unfortunate thing is we live in a world where Governmental Overlords think they have the right (Which they do not) to interfare in all areas of everyones life. But soon the Tyrannical Dictators will soon have to turn in their Keys, for they have been bad Stewards over things that do not belong to them!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011, 9:19:09 PM

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MagneticMan
Ayn Rand was a Futurist, Visionary. The Truth is…I am sure she understood in the context of the Universe that everything about life should be free. Food, Shelter, Clothing and a roof over your head. Unfortunatly we live in an over popuated world. I am sure she also believed in Compassion, Love and the persuit of Happiness. Another unfortunate thing is we live in a world where Governmentla Overlords think they have the right (Which they do not) to interfare is all areas of everyones life. But soon the Tyrannical Dictators will soon have to turn in their Keys, for they have been bad Stewards over things that do not belong to them!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011, 9:17:49 PM

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sreekunjmandapam
Old age ailments and compulsion changes human’s lifelong perception. Ayan rand’s contribution is too great to be undermined by such petty compulsion of life

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 12:05:29 PM

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Guest
@Liberals Cann All Leave Then
WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOUR ORIGINAL THOUGHTS OVER THE WHINING ABOUT PEOPLE WHINING.  COULD YOU TURN OFF THE RHETORIC SO I COULD HEAR YOU?  HELLO? Aw crap, he just keeps *talking*

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 5:13:56 AM

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Liberals Cann All Leave Then
If, as many liberal commenters believe, that one cannot use a government road if they decry the taxes that paid for it, then all liberals who whine and cry about the United States policies, such as immigration, can follow their own advice and leave to another country. Goodbye. Either leave or stop being hypocrites, whining and crying about others when you yourself do the very same thing. Although, I profoundly believe that it is anathema to a liberal not to whine and cry.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011, 3:11:34 PM

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Mr. MRS
I can’t say I blame her for trying to get her money’s worth. OK, I’m being facetious. Whether she liked it or not, she still had to pay taxes by force of the law of the land.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011, 9:40:21 AM

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The Guest
@John Galt: Any proof about her legal name? I prefer a long form birth certificate which I can view with my own eyes and touch with my own fingers. Otherwise, I’ll continue to believe the rumor about her being born in Great Britain.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011, 1:28:25 AM

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Linda
@JohnHarrington:
So if you diagree with the politics / government of the country you live in, your only option is to flee the country, otherwise you are a hypocrite?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011, 1:20:44 AM

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Brandino
I would like to note, however, that this is a common argument made against libertarians.  Somehow, the argument goes, we are hypocrites for benefiting from government programs.  This is a pretty simplistic argument.  It is not at all inconsistent to decry government healthcare and simultaneously accept government healthcare benefits.  If the government totally socialized healthcare, and I got sick, then I would use government doctors because the only alternative is death.  I would rather use private insurance in a capitalist healthcare market, but the government’s monopoly would make that impossible.  Anyway, as a tax payer, I would be paying twice for healthcare if I sought private insurance and rejected the government handout.
This same line of argument applies to roads, socialized retirement programs (social security), police, firefighters, public schools, etc.  When you break it down, the situation proceeds thusly:
Step 1: We socialize X (where X can be education, healthcare, roads, etc.)Step 2: Since we can force people to pay for socialist X whether they want to or not, we drive all other producers of X out of business (sometimes leaving premium markets remaining at dramatically higher prices: think private schools)Step 3: Now, the only X that is reasonably available is socializedStep 4: Even staunch liberty-loving people are forced to buy X from the government (remember, if they are still paying taxes it is a sale, not a handout)Step 5: Self-righteous progressive statists sneer and giggle at the marvelous hypocrisy of those backwards libertarians
So, Rand’s acceptance of government healthcare benefits and social security is not surprising or against her credo.  In a perfect world, she would be able to get affordable insurance after the age of 65 in a free market.  Likewise, she would not have a chunk of her income confiscated every year for social security, and she would have had the right to invest her savings as she saw fit.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:01:49 PM

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John Galt
Her real name was Ann O’Connor and her pen name was Ayn Rand.  She wouldn’t have been allowed to file under Ayn Rand if she tried.  Her birth name was Alissa Rosenbaum, from the USSR, and was never legally Ayn Rand.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 4:59:45 PM

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JohnHarrington
“Are you a hypocrite if you drive on a government road when you advocate the privatization of roads?”
Yes, you are.
If I believed, as did Ayn, that taxation was slavery, I would not participate in it at ALL.  I would flee across the border to whatever tax haven I could find where taxation was either nonexistent or at least minimized as much as possible.
Anyone who truly believes that taxation is slavery and who remains within a country that is taxing its citizens is not only a hypocrite, but, as a beneficiary of “slavery”, they are immoral.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 3:28:49 PM

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Mike in SF
Well we could start by attacking her “philosophy” as being nothing but bad retreads of other people’s ideas.
Then we could go on to the fact that her books are awful and unreadable as fiction. They’re just political polemics dressed up as novels, and she seems to love having her male characters rape women. What’s that about?
Then we can progress to this. It’s completely hypocritical to rail against the state with one side of your mouth and then take the state’s aid from the other. Utterly hypocritical. If you can’t see that, you’re silly (or Rep. Michelle Bachmann).
She was entitled to claim Medicare and social security, just like everyone else, but claiming this wasn’t hypocrisy is stupid. Clearly she didn’t want people to find out, since she used her married name and not her pen name.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 3:18:20 PM

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danp
Ragnard, the fact that Rand saw the need to use a fake name tell you all you need to know. She didn’t think it was consistent with her values.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 10:44:42 AM

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Guest
“Government hasn’t made the cost of healthcare astronomical – business and the profit motive has. Fact. Single payer would have helped – but you didn’t support that, did you?”
BS.  Health insurance companies’ profit margins run about 3%.  It’s one of the lowest of any industry in America.  The only way the government can lower costs significantly is by fixing prices, which can only have the effect of lowering the quantity and quality of the care provided.  That means waiting lists, death panels, and careless doctors who are pissed off that they went to school for 8 years to make a measley $50,000/year.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 10:42:59 AM

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RagnarD1776
I agree Ayn Rand was not a hypocrite.  The government owns and operates about 99.9% of the roads, highways, bridges and other such vehicle infrastructure.  Are you a hypocrite if you drive on a government road when you advocate the privatization of roads?  Are you a hypocrite when you go on public television or public radio to advocate the abolishment of these government programs?  The answer is no you are trying to change a system within the system.  The government takes 30% of your money regulates your health care and health insurance as to raise the price of the good or service and then when you want back a little bit of the money it stole from you calls you a hypocrite.  I think those opposed to Ayn Rand don’t have anything philosophical to attack her with so they make stuff up and come up with the lamest arguments and rumors.  Try attacking a premise of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 10:21:52 AM

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Guest
STEVO: here’s a memo for you.
Government hasn’t made the cost of healthcare astronomical – business and the profit motive has. Fact. Single payer would have helped – but you didn’t support that, did you?

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:51:00 AM

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Guest
this is like Hemingway blowing his brains.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:48:53 AM

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Guest
Actually, she wasn’t a hypocrite, and if you had a f’n clue you wouldn’t have to make such a fool out of yourself.  Rand thought that state-funded redistribution programs were essentially theft (she was right), and as such, a person has the full right to take advantage of those programs that they paid into, in the same way that a victim of a robbery has the right to have what was stolen returned to them.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 8:02:57 AM

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Eric
Remember she had to pay an onslaught of approximately 50% of her earned income to yearly taxes. So, of course she needed some assistance at the end of her life. Stop the welfare state and those of us that actually work get to keep more of their earned income.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 6:22:07 AM

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amelia815
I’m sure Rand had some great ideals about independence of a person, but in the end, one has to rely on one’s government to a degree, at least. I live in Canada and while we have a lot of socialized programs, like our health care, I seek not to abuse our system and use it when I have a cold. No doctor can do anything for a cold. I fight it out with teas and honey and lemon, and that’s that. Socialized systems can work when you have a reasonably educated populace that knows better than to abuse it.

Monday, January 31, 2011, 4:50:20 AM

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malefico
If she wasn’t a hypocrite then why did she apply under another name?

Monday, January 31, 2011, 2:43:11 AM

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Guest
If the U.S. is a socialized state, then what in Christ’s name is a well-functioning welfare state like Finland called? Ignorance is apparently not bliss, it’s jackassery to the highest degree.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 4:39:05 PM

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stevo
when you live in a socialized state like the us, you can’t afford healthcare because government has made the cost astronomical.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 2:10:58 PM

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Guest
Ayn Rand was in no way a hypocrite. See http://www.newclarion.com/2011/01/sanction-of-theft/ for more refutation than this garbage deserves.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 12:26:39 PM

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Guest
What a hypercritical woman.  She has ably illustrated the need for the welfare state, but just because of politics she could not acknowledge its positive effects.  Just like the current Con\Dem government – bringing the nation to it’s feet just to say that there values are better than other parties.  Shame on her and on them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011, 4:35:10 AM

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