Ayn Rand (born Alisa Rosenbaum in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1905) has devotees everywhere.
But she speaks most directly to American conservatives, says Timothy Stanley, a British historian at the University of Oxford who writes about US politics for the Daily Telegraph.
“American Conservatism is fundamentally about the relationship between the individual and the community, about jealously protecting the individual’s liberty.
“British Conservativism is about the Queen, the Anglican Church and rituals like tea. It’s less about the economy or your relationship with government, so there is very little in Ayn Rand that they could identify with.”
Paul Ryan genuinely fell out of love with Randian ideas, says Stanley, and that comes with age.
“Atlas Shrugged was a very exciting book to read when you’re young but then you grow up and get a family and develop a relationship with God.
“Rand teaches you that the individual is in complete control of their life and adolescents are terrified of being told what to do.”
Tom Geoghegan, “Ayn Rand: Why is she so popular?“, BBC News Magazine, 17 August 2012.
There is much more in the full article. Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged is 1,200 pages long and was first published 55 years ago.