In his contribution to the Rand/Art Symposium in The JournaI of Ayn Rand Studies, Jeff Riggenbach takes to task those who over-emphasize Rand's emphasis on Romanticism in art. Wha? Is this even possible? I mean, didn't Rand emphasize Romanticism above aII else? Let's see...
It emerged, over the course of the ensuing conversation, that, in Howard's mind, the only meaningful question one could ask about a particular work of art was: "Do you like it?" The only meaningful question one could ask about art in general was "What kind(s) do you like?" Esthetics and art criticism...was, to speak plainly, either pure bunkum, pure wind in the rafters, or else an effort by some individuals (the critics and aestheticians) to "tell other people what to like."
As far as [they] were concerned, Rand's only significant contribution to aesthetic theory-the only significant contribution anyone could make to aesthetic theory, really-was her proof that the best art was romantic art.
This absurd notion persists to this day, of course, and it persists widely. One might even go so far as to say that the typicaI Objectivist of the newly turned twenty-first century is, just Iike the typical "student of Objectivism" of the 1960's, firm in the belief that aesthetics is the least important part of Rand's philosophy, resolute in the determination to remain ignorant of her writings on art (perhaps lest they confound or contradict one's dismissive attitude towards them?), and smugly confidant that these writings "prove" the superiority of "romantic" art.
Listen to Lindsay Perigo...increasingly popular editor of The Free Radical: "Ayn Rand formulated the philosophy of Objectivism, dedicated to reason in epistemology,freedom/individualism in politics/ethics, capitalism in economics and romanticism in ethics." This absurdity is all the more painfuI to contemplate because it is a double absurdity, an absurdity absurdly compounded.
Romantic Music is Objectively Superior (and anyone who doesn't get it is a moron).
Incidentally, I do not mean that in such a society there would be nothing but Romantic art. There might be many schools of art, but the dominant trend would favor Romanticism. People would enjoy it much more than Naturalistic studies, and certainly more than studies of human depravity. But there would be no laws prescribing what art or literature should be. It would be up to each individual to decide for himself, and you would have a wider variety of viewpoints in such a society than in any other.