Ayn Wouldn’t Have Apologized!

Not being a practitioner of yoga in any way, shape or form, I was only dimly aware of the brouhaha over the discovery that yoga apparel products sold by a company called Lululemon were too sheer and revealing for the social comfort of wearers.

So I also did not know that Lululemon’s founder and chairman, one Dennis Wilson, is a big-time Objectivist who not that long ago confused many buyers of his products by emblazoning shopping bags with the legend: “Who is John Galt?”

Now that Lululemon has itself a product-quality issue, it seems to be abjectly apologetic in a way that does not seem to comport with the self-righteous confidence of Ayn Rand’s capitalist heroes. So at New York‘s Kevin Roose is quite naturally chiding the company’s execs for handling this all wrong:

The solution seems obvious: make sheer pants a feature, not a bug. Instead of recalling those transpara-pants, just make some new packaging, slap it on the defective pairs, and market them as a new line — “Sheer Nirvana,” or somesuch. Hell, make ’em for men, too.

Lululemon was famously founded on the ideals of Ayn Rand. You think Ayn would have apologized for some see-through Spandex? Hell no. She would have defended the integrity of those pants with her life. “An inventor is a man who asks ‘Why?’ of the universe and lets nothing stand between the answer and his mind,” she wrote in Atlas Shrugged.

A real Objectivist yoga company would have looked at that sentence, replaced “the answer” with “sheer-bottom yoga pants” and “his mind” with “record-breaking profits,” and sold the damn things like hotcakes.

Perhaps this is what Rand had in mind in entitling one of her books (a collection of essays in which Alan Greenspan did a lot of the writing): “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.”

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.