AisA

A Question about Wynand

2 posts in this topic

Dear Dr. Bernstein:

In the Fountainhead, Wynand eventually gives in after trying to defend Roark in the Courtland case; faced with the choice of reversing course and condemning Roark or closing the paper, he chooses to condemn Roark. This is presented as the climatic result of the fundamental error in Wynand's life -- the inevitable discovery that, "a leash is a rope with a noose at both ends" (if I recall that wonderful expression clearly). Later, he chooses to close the Banner --leaving Toohey without a job or a mouthpiece.

Why didn't Wynand simply close the Banner when the alternative was first presented -- without condemning Roark? Why was he unable to bring himself to give up the Banner at that moment – but was able to later?

Thank you.

P.S. Thank you, also, for the wonderful work defending capitalism. I hope you make millions on your book.

Michael Smith

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This is Andrew Bernstein's reply to the question posed by AisA.

I understand it as an issue of values. Although Wynand realizes now that his power-seeking career has ruined him, The Banner is nevertheless his baby. He loves it, it has been his life, it is his career and his passion all rolled up into one. He won't put an end to what has been a passion for 30-40 years. It would be like murdering his child.

But this is exactly why he does he close it subsequently. He refuses to permit his baby to be usurped by a vicious louse like Toohey. He will destroy it first, rather than see his life work be taken over by one whom he now recognizes to be evil incarnate. Here's the choice for a loving parent: let your child be taken by the Comprachicos to be tortured and disfigured by monsters, twisted into a grotesque creature whose existence is riddled with agony--or kill him quickly and painlessly now. It's a no-win, Sophies' choice set of alternatives--and Wynand chooses what, to him, is the lesser of the two evils. In his place, I would do the same.

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