Re: "Rand, Ryan & Roumell" Aug. 22, Jack Lessenberry has yet again made another cogent argument in support of liberalism. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, coming from their respective privileged backgrounds, have never had to utilize any government programs in order to help raise themselves out of the mire of poverty. And, as members of the party of choice for selfish bastards, they believe that if there is any government program for which they have no personal use, then by all means it needs to be eliminated. The reverence my grandfather, a World War II veteran, held for Franklin Roosevelt was second only to his reverence for God. My grandfather saw firsthand how President Roosevelt's social programs rescued this county from sinking during the depths of the Depression. I shudder to think how we will all fare in this still-struggling economy if Mitt and his overzealous running mate take over next January. —Gail Gilchrist, Berkley
It always startles me when a skeleton from Jack Lessenberry's closet vaguely echoes the rattle of bones from my own past — in this case, his recent admission to a brief adolescent infatuation with Ayn Rand. I, too, hope that current events and belated scrutiny succeed in debunking this "thinker" and her sterile philosophy. However, I also hope that the same scrutiny draws attention to the fact that Rand's novel The Fountainhead was turned into a pretty decent film back in 1949. Although he was obliged to use a screenplay written by Rand herself, director King Vidor adroitly downplayed her "message" and simply allowed Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal to smolder in one scene after another. The movie is hardly a classic, but it's still more fun to watch than that recent DIY production based on Atlas Shrugged. —Robert del Valle, Royal Oak
Thank you, Jack Lessenberry, for finally bringing up Ayn Rand's portrayal of sexuality. I've always pointed out to friends that in The Fountainhead (the only one of her books I've read), the heroine Dominique only experiences her sexuality through rape: first by brutal physical subjugation, later by a psychologically distant re-enactment with her original rapist's rival. It reveals that the true core of Rand's philosophy is not worship of the individual, but power. As one of my friends put it, "They are wonderful, beautiful novels; unfortunately, there are no humans in them, only gods." Your analysis — the one from this week as much as the one from when you were 17 — is spot on. —Jonathan Bartnik, Troy
Wealth & wisdom
Jack Lessenberry can add Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to his list of the super rich who "get it" and can see beyond their own narrow interests. —Elizabeth Breneau, Ferndale
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.