Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Whittaker Chambers and Ayn Rand are
two of the most important American conservative icons. Both
abhorred collectivism and spoke on behalf of individual freedom.
Chambers’ autobiography, “Witness,” is one of the defining
conservative documents of the 20th century. Rand’s most
influential novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” continues to inspire and
orient conservative and libertarian thought.
Here’s what history has largely forgotten: Chambers utterly
despised Rand’s novel. Their differences were fundamental, and
they involved both substance and sensibility. Those differences
have continuing importance, because they tell us a great deal
about divisions within contemporary conservatism. (Yes, there
are analogous divisions on the liberal side, but that’s a tale
for another day.)