The new age of Ayn Rand: How she won over President Trump and Silicon Valley

“As they plough through their GCSE revision, UK students planning to take politics A-level in the autumn can comfort themselves with this thought: come September, they will be studying one thinker who does not belong in the dusty archives of ancient political theory but is achingly on trend,” Jonathan Freedland writes for The Guardian. “For the curriculum includes a new addition: the work of Ayn Rand.”

“Long the poster girl of a particularly hardcore brand of free-market fundamentalism – the advocate of a philosophy she called ‘the virtue of selfishness’ – Rand has always had acolytes in the conservative political classes,” Freedland writes. “The Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, is so committed a Randian, he was famous for giving every new member of his staff a copy of Rand’s gargantuan novel, Atlas Shrugged (along with Freidrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom). The story, oft-repeated, that his colleague in the US Senate, Rand Paul, owes his first name to his father Ron’s adulation of Ayn (it rhymes with ‘mine’) turns out to be apocryphal, but Paul describes himself as a fan all the same.”

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand“Which brings us to the new wave of Randians, outside both politics and conventional conservatism. They are the princes of Silicon Valley,” Freedland writes. “So it should be no surprise that when Vanity Fair surveyed these tycoons of the digital age, many of them pointed to a single guiding star. Rand, the magazine suggested, might just be ‘the most influential figure in the industry.’ When the CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, had to choose an avatar for his Twitter account in 2015, he opted for the cover of The Fountainhead. Peter Thiel, Facebook’s first major investor and a rare example of a man who straddles both Silicon Valley and Trumpworld, is a Randian. Meanwhile, Steve Jobs is said by his Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, to have regarded Atlas Shrugged as one of his ‘guides in life.'”

“No wonder the tech companies don’t mind destroying, say, the taxi business or the traditional news media,” Freedland writes. “Such concerns are beneath the young, powerful men at the top: even to listen to such concerns would be to betray the singularity of their own pure vision.”

MacDailyNews Take: Attempting to artificially block new, innovative, and more efficient ways of doing things is a fool’s errand.

Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. — Steve Jobs, June 12, 2005

Freedland writes, “So Rand, dead 35 years, lives again, her hand guiding the rulers of our age in both Washington and San Francisco.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote nearly one decade ago to the day:

Business models that fly in the face of human nature are doomed to failure.MacDailyNews, April 13, 2007

Government programs that fly in the face of human nature are doomed to failure, too.

126 Comments

      1. According to Wikipedia:

        “Rand underwent surgery for lung cancer in 1974 after decades of heavy smoking.[96] In 1976, she retired from writing her newsletter and, despite her initial objections, allowed Evva Pryor, a social worker from her attorney’s office, to enroll her in Social Security and Medicare.[97][98]”

        I have found Wikipedia to be a generally credible source and it clearly supports DavGreg’s assertion that Rand signed up for both Social Security and Medicare. I suspect that a more extensive search would yield additional sources. If you care to offer evidence that supports your “lie” claim, feel free. Otherwise, your credibility suffers once again.

        1. It’s just another weakly built sound-bite, with little or no thought behind it. In other words, a typical Liberal knee-jerk straw man.

          Rand morally opposes the welfare state because she’s an unwavering advocate of the individual’s moral right to his life, his liberty, his earned property, and the pursuit of his own happiness. She viewed America as putting an end to the idea that the individual must live for king, neighbor or pope. For the first time in history the individual was declared free to live for himself. It was not handouts or entitlement programs that the millions of individuals who came to America’s shores sought, but freedom. The freedom to rise as high as their minds, abilities and hard work would take them.

          Rand argues that a country dedicated to individualism must oppose every “redistribution” of wealth for a simple but profound reason: it’s not our wealth to redistribute. If I walk into your garage and drive your Camry across the street to your neighbor’s garage, I haven’t redistributed our “collective” wealth, I’ve stolen yours. If I help pass a law that allows the government to “redistribute” your Camry to your neighbor, I’ve only made the situation worse by legalizing the theft.

          Yet this is what programs like Social Security do. In essence, Social Security seizes the money of a young worker and gives it to an older person to pay for his retirement. This is combined with the grisly hope, falsely labeled a promise, that when this young victim reaches retirement age, there will be enough new young workers earning enough money for the government to now victimize them to pay for his retirement.

          What’s moral about this? If you and I wrote a computer program to siphon a few percent from young people’s bank accounts and deposit the proceeds into the accounts of the elderly, we would be branded criminals. What makes it moral if the government does it? The fact that a lot of us voted for it? Should we say the same about Prohibition or segregation laws?

          Of course, proponents of Social Security will cite eighty-year-old ladies who, through misfortune, were unable to save enough for retirement and now live off of Social Security. Conveniently unmentioned and unseen are the young victims, whose earnings were seized: the young man who can’t afford both to work and go to college, the young couple unable to put aside money for a down payment on a house, the young woman unable to save enough to start her own business.

          Rand rejects the collectivist notion behind all these “redistribution” schemes: that individuals are the chess pieces of bureaucrats, who get to decide which pawns will be sacrificed and to whom. In America, each person must earn his own way. The pursuit of happiness does not guarantee you success. Those who fail, perhaps through no fault of their own, like the eighty-year-old lady, are free to seek the help of others. But there is no place for the idea, as Rand puts it, that “the misfortune of some is a mortgage on others.”

          This is why Rand opposes every “redistribution” scheme of the welfare state.

          Precisely because Rand views welfare programs like Social Security as legalized plunder, she thinks the only condition under which it is moral to collect Social Security is if one “regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism” (emphasis hers). The seeming contradiction that only the opponent of Social Security has the moral right to collect it dissolves, she argues, once you recognize the crucial difference between the voluntary and the coerced.

          Social Security is not voluntary. Your participation is forced through payroll taxes, with no choice to opt out even if you think the program harmful to your interests.If you consider such forced “participation” unjust, as Rand does, the harm inflicted on you would only be compounded if your announcement of the program’s injustice precludes you from collecting Social Security.

          This being said, your moral integrity does require that you view the funds only as (partial) restitution for all that has been taken from you by such welfare schemes and that you continue, sincerely, to oppose the welfare state.

          In contrast, the advocate of Social Security on Rand’s view is not the victim but the supporter of legalized plunder, whether he realizes it or not. This fact morally disqualifies him from accepting the spoils “redistributed” by the welfare state.Onkar Ghate, June 19, 2014

          1. I consider myself a liberal, though not with the cartoonish bleeding heart motivations you and others seem to love to attribute to us all. To some, sure, and they annoy me as much as they do you, maybe more. I’m a liberal for the purely selfish reason that my wife and I like to leave my house every once in a while and the health of the society around me determines the quality of my life in immeasurable ways. I don’t want to buy the world a coke, but there’s a basic floor of human misery and social decay I don’t want to confront on a daily basis, and I’m willing to pay some of my personal income to make that happen the same way if I don’t like the view into my neighbors yard I might decide to pay more than my fair share for a fence. This system isn’t ideal or purely fair, but neither is any system purported by Randians. My house and my health are safer and more free when the people around me aren’t completely desperate. And in regards to a purely free market where if a corporations fuck up every aspect of my life or kill me, my sole solace is maybe other people will notice and MAYBE stop buying their products seems like a solution that doesn’t respect the individual at all. Corporations are artificial animals evolving in an artificial system of our own making for our own ends. I’m perfectly fine with “don’t dump your waste in the creek I drink from, or die” being a natural constraint corporations are forced to evolve around rather than just “dump more, faster, and cheaper, toxic waste into the creek than that other corporation, or die”

            1. Your post seems quite reasonable to me, Eric. I suspect that most people in the moderate range spanning mid-left to mid-right feel roughly similarly about things. There are not as many “bleeding heart” liberals as Fwhatever and botty often seem to imply. To them, anything left of mid-right is liberal and anything left of moderate is insanity. Similarly, there are not as many far-right/alt-right people as some would have us believe.

              The extremists want us to believe that they are in the majority, that they have the power. In truth, the moderates have the power. Unfortunately, we have let the vocal extremists drive far too much of the political agenda for the last couple of decades, starting in the early 1990s. They see the world in a binary fashion where all goodness is enveloped by their viewpoint and everything else is anathema. It is impossible to govern with that attitude.

              Witness the current Administration – Trump called Democrats the “enemy.”

              Witness the current Speaker – Ryan does not want Trump to work with Democrats.

              How can you claim to desire bipartisan action and still make statements like that?

          2. Preacher Rand opposed social services for the needy and for the aged when she was young and invulnerable and full of spunk but then she embraced it when sick and infirm. So which Rand will you believe, the young or the old?

        1. I dare you Dem/Lib/Progs to watch/listen to this video of Thomas Sowell from 1981 (who should have been “America’s first black president”):

      1. Well, botty, you need to get your story straight with your comrade Fwhatever, If you read his post above, you will see:

        In essence, Social Security seizes the money of a young worker and gives it to an older person to pay for his retirement. This is combined with the grisly hope, falsely labeled a promise, that when this young victim reaches retirement age, there will be enough new young workers earning enough money for the government to now victimize them to pay for his retirement.

        and

        Social Security is not voluntary. Your participation is forced through payroll taxes, with no choice to opt out even if you think the program harmful to your interests. If you consider such forced “participation” unjust, as Rand does, the harm inflicted on you would only be compounded if your announcement of the program’s injustice precludes you from collecting Social Security.

        Sounds like an alt-right disconnect to me. You had better hurry and agree on a common viewpoint or one of you might get kicked out of the club for “thinking different.”

        1. Melvin…I know you are beyond help, but because I am such a magnanimous human being, I will, once again, address your stupidity. I did not say Social Security wasn’t a coerced entity on American workers, what I said is that Rand was also forced to pay into the fund. In fact, being self-employed, Rand paid a higher rate than a wage earner. So, the money she paid in is hers, Social Security is not an entitlement. It is government-imposed minimal refund of monies a person has earned over their career.

          1. You said that she “…got back only a fraction of what she paid in before dying at age 77,” as if it is somehow a key point that one person may have paid in more than she received. She apparently joined SS in 1976 at around age 71, so she only collected SS for six years. If she had started six years earlier, who knows?

            I don’t know how much she paid in or how much she received, but that really isn’t the point. Once again, you fail to comprehend the issue.

            And please don’t do me any favors, botty. Reading more of your posts just wastes more of my time.

            1. right, you don’t know shït….you just see the word “Trump” in the headline and attempt to smear anyone remotely positively associated with him…in this case, the Russian-born philosopher Rand.

              Melvin, you have the mind of a child.

          2. And it’s failing! SS, that is as well as all of the major programs (reality: unfunded liabilities) that the bleeding hearts/those denying financial reality, initiated and dare not minimize. Isn’t unsustainability reason enough to make the determination that a program sucks?

          3. “In fact, being self-employed, Rand paid a higher rate than a wage earner.”

            This is a logical fallacy. Yes, the self-employed must pay both the worker’s share AND “their employer’s” share — since they are both. But a wage-earner has the privilege of their employer taking out their share of SS from their wages before the wage-earner ever sees it. Yet it amounts to the same thing. Both a wage earner and a self-employed person ultimately pay the same total amounts into SS, whether they make the full payment themself (self-employed) or they and their employer agree to split the payments (worker). It boils down to the same thing.

            1. So sorry, but you are wrong. Whether the “earner” pays it all directly, or the “boss” first takes half of it out of the wage-earner’s pay with the wage earner paying the other half — amounts to the same thing, economically speaking.

              On what basis do you assert they are _not_ the same thing?

      2. You are wrong in your narrative of the evil government pillaging the folk here (not always but in this case for sure,).

        With increasing lifespans and cost of living escalators, most people actually collect far more in SS than they put in. That’s (one reason) why the system is insolvent in the long run.

        This wasn’t always true – life expectancy was only about a year or so longer than the SS retirement age when the program started, but it’s far longer now.

    1. I do not consider Social Security to be a legitimate function of US government. It is a socialist stupidity instituted by a duplicitous FDR. Worst president ever. Even worse than Obama and Carter.

      I do not need the fucking government taking MY money and generating the shittiest possible return ever via Social Security. If I could only keep MY money, I could generate at least 20 times what Social Security makes with my eyes closed. The amount of capital wasted since the inception of Social Security can never be calculated.

      FDR is burning in fucking hell for what he inflicted upon America.

        1. Except for the fact that for decades SS hasn’t covered basic living expenses for the vast majority of those who receive it. So much for the notion that Rand (let alone anyone else) was (is) “living” on SS.

          Like it, or not, SS is basically a ponzie scheme.

          1. Many people are perfectly okay with social security being “means tested”. This means you only receive social security if you need it. A social safety net.

            But it is a political issue, because of small-minded people like you.

        2. Load of horseshit.

          That was their money. They paid it in. And the gov’t provided the shittiest return possible. They would have retired far better off without the government forcing them to save for their retirement in such a statist way. If they chose not to save, they reap the consequences.

          Personal responsibility. America used to have it. Before FDR and his ilk.

          1. you and botty are deluded enough to think that the most pleasurable society is one where every personal interaction is a monetary transaction and everything you do requires an upfront individual fee apparently administered by for-profit corporations without any regulatory oversight. You regularly insinuate that you prefer a minuscule government that does nothing but wage war and refuses to evolve to meet the challenges of the modern world, and it should be ruled by a single extremist right wing party that uses no diplomacy. Though you worship corporations that are undemocratic and have zero interest in improving the lives of the citizens of their home nations, you insist that somehow your nation is more important than any other, and you feel offensive military means are necessary to isolate your ivory tower. Or to prevent the world from evolving beyond the corrupt nation state where lobbyists own the puppet representatives and freedom is measured by how many brands of cheap disposable plastic junk you can buy.

            It will be a rude awakening when you self absorbed aholes actually need the help of another person or want to accomplish something that requires the coordiation of someone else. Nobody wants to cooperate with a bitter backstabbing egoist. Even the other selfish idiots in your alt right wing of the obstructionist wing of the looney bin you associate with. You will find that your idealogical bent — that you are always right, that your party must always win even when the long term outcome is bad for everyone, that being great means throwing your military around the world — yeah, that’s akin to fascism. Nothing your hero Trump has done is bringing long term prosperity to the USA. He’s a dictator wannabe who id dividing your nation into bitter partisans that will, as Lincoln surmised, not stand since they refuse to work together with united purpose

            Signed, An Apolitical Independent who Believes in Cooperation to Benefit Us All

      1. Social Security is an insurance system designed to prevent the elderly from living in abject poverty. Prior to it’s enactment, the elderly were the most impoverished age group- now they are not.
        Social Security was never intended to be your retirement, it was intended to be part of your retirement and a safeguard. As to the shittiest return, millions lost vast amounts of investments in 401k and 403b accounts in the Bush Market Crash and Recession and never fully recovered.

        Their Social Security accounts have however paid as planned- this was the primary purpose of the system.

        And as to the common Republican meme that it is a Ponzi scheme, Social Security has never paid a red cent from general revenue- only from the Premiums collected as the tax and the interest from their investment. People who do not pay into the system are not entitled to payments- which shows it is insurance and not an entitlement.

        Finally, the Trust Fund surplus was created when taxes were raised on Baby Boomers as a one time adjustment due to the demographic shifts because of the decline in birth rates and fast growing life expectancy. The fund is silent and as long as it is indexed to inflation will remain solvent in perpetuity.

    2. You can always tell who’s never read a single word of her work, just jumped on the bandwagon with political cronies to provide criticism that is completely inaccurate. Or they will say, they tried to read it but it was all garbage etc.

      Rand’s work was introduced to me by a high school teacher who observed that I would intentionally do poorly in classes in order to not stand out. Being a poor student was all part of the survival methodology of growing up in an all black community.

      Here, just for those of you who have no real idea, is an example of one of her essays on racism. This singular piece of writing allowed me to form an individual opinion of the world I live in, and not hate all white people or think they’re racists, and observe that I too was guilty of what presumably only whites were.

      1. I’m glad that Ayn Rand had a beneficial effect on you. For many others, sadly, the words of John Rogers ring true:

        “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

    3. Yes, she died a Socialist on the take, at the mercy of Social Services; Her hateful anti-humanitarian world view could not make her economic ends meet.

      It failed to provide ecomomic srcurity in her old age. Therefore, the Randian philosophy by which she lived when young when she needed no health care because she was naturally healthy, failed to this extent.

      To those who equate Socialism with Communism, then Communism came to her aid by providing medicines and living accomodations when she was in her death bed.

      I made sarcastic tribute to Randians and Capitalistic free enterprisers who socialistically bailed out big banks here:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f999eiDeb1E

      1. I think healthy free market Capitalists, either as real people or corporate persons, can benefit from Socialistic bailouts when their Wall St. investments tank in old age.

    4. Agree, DavGreg. Unbridled greed is not the same thing as Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that ideally guides economic activity to do the greatest good, as described in his revolutionary book, “The Wealth of Nations”, published in 1776.

      The main tenet of Adam Smith’s book is that an economy of self-interested parties will self-regulate to ensure maximum efficiency for all. However, some people fail to recognize that Adam Smith’s ideal economy is all too easily threatened by (a) bad economic policies & decisions taken by unenlightened politicians, (b) monopolies, (c) tax preferences, (d) lobbying groups, (e) and/or other privileges & advantages, favoring some members of the economy at the expense of others.

      Some people like to mis-interpret Adam Smith’s core message as being: “keep your hands off the economy and all will be well”. But this misses an important point, especially in today’s mixed-up world. His real point is that we should only keep our hands off the economy when it is self-regulating to achieve maximum efficiency for all. But when “maximum efficiency for all” fails to happen, then something is wrong and we (that is, our “social planners”, as an economist would call the people who make rules and laws to regulate these things) should step in to rectify the economy’s malfunctioning. It is a critical distinction.

      Incidentally, Al Greenspan was an Ayn Rand groupie, and look what he did: he very nearly brought down the entire World Financial System. All because he failed to do what he should have done: ensure the economic system was working at is maximum efficiency _for all_ …not just wealthy Wall Street. Everyone else got screwed.

      John Rawls wrote “A Theory of Justice” in which he describes a game-theoretic method — a sort of mind-game, or mental experiment — to ensure a given society is fair to all members of that society. It basically goes like this: the social planner can design society as best they can, but to decide if it is fair to all members of that society, they must envision themselves in every position in that society, no matter how low. For example, if those who design society’s rules were to find themselves poor, uneducated, and perhaps without health insurance — would they honestly be able to say life was fair in that society?

      It is sort of a variation of the expression: “There, but for the grace of God, go I”, which spurs many to charitable individual actions. Yet our religion somehow fails us, and we all get weak-kneed when it comes to creating a more fair society as a system.

      In summary, a more fair society is perfectly consistent a well-running economy that ensures the maximum benefit FOR ALL.

      1. Yes, Adam Smith did not advocate for the primacy of maximum selfishness over the common good.

        I think a word better than “efficiency” is
        “benefit” in the context of egalitarianism in the commons.

        For me, therefore, to paraphrase your, “But when ‘maximum benefit in the commons fails to happen, then something is wrong….'”

    5. DG, ignoring First’s long winded rant, which was way too long to actually bother reading, what about her unfortunate circumstances makes her philosophy or ideas any less credible? If the objective is just to smear her, and by association taint her point of view, that’s not a particularly principled or persuasive way to counter an argument.

      1. The simple fact is that she was what she claimed to abhor. She labeled people makers and takers and died sucking on the tit of the very social welfare programs of the Ferderal Government she opposed in her writing.

        Kind of like finding out the guy in charge of a detox facility is an unreformed junkie.

  1. Human nature can change and evolve along with human biology, intellect, and technology. To believe that only actions and results that appeal to the baser, more selfish nature of humanity can lead to success is, in my opinion, narrow-minded and flawed.

    1. Human nature? Determining whether there is some fundamental natural way for humans to be, and if there is, just what that nature might be, is a question a lot of evolutionary biologists have tangled with. It is a question more likely to answered by scientific inquiry than philosophy. Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan, Sigmund Freud, John Calvin, Confucius, Richard Dawkins, and many others have expressed ideas about “human nature.” Zealous devotion to any one of these may say more about the “believer” than it does about the validity and broad applicability of the ideas themselves.

      1. Fair enough, but you will note that I did not advocate “zealous devotion” to any belief system. In fact, I offered my opinion that a system based on an extreme is flawed and that people/society will change and evolve.

        As far as “human nature” goes, I suspect that, as a social species, evolution has pushed us towards a general set of behaviors associated with survival. Those behaviors are probably distributed similar to a normal distribution, with accepted behaviors falling within the 3-sigma bounds, and desired behaviors falling within the 2-sigma bounds, or less.

        Unfortunately, the behaviors that work for an extended family group, clan, or small community may not work so well for larger communities, cities, states, or countries. The sizes and densities of current populations present a problem. The human population is growing so quickly that I suspect evolution is lagging in terms of the development of the necessary survival behaviors for large groups of homo sapiens.

    1. Nowhere above does MDN “agree with the concept of Steve Jobs’ death.” That quote is applied to the traditional “taxi business” and “the traditional news media.”

  2. unfortunately, her darwinian view of the world was one shared by a certain austrian malcontent and the wall street banksters.

    and we all know how well that worked out in either case.

    she was a bitter woman whose life and philosophy was deeply colored by her familiy’s experience at the hands of the soviets. an experience that would sour anyone on the asserted virtues of communism.

    unfortunately her reaction was nearly as extreme as what prompted it.

        1. History proves it true. Over and over and over.

          Business models and government programs that fly in the face of human nature are doomed to failure. — MacDailyNews

      1. The very existence of society, any society, does.
        Funny how health care is not a right (it is if society says it is) but buying Patriot missles and mercenaries is….

        You are highly intelligent, but you’re evil. Not the first time you’ve heard it.

      2. Fwhatever, i assert that the fact that her philosophy trends towards the extreme renders it highly suspect.

        And, if you were as intelligent as you appear to believe, you would not attempt to claim victory on the basis that your opponent failed to prove a negative. If that is the requirement for winning a debate, then winning is impossible.

    1. “Her darwinian view…” Again, someone who’s view point comes from chatter. Her ideas were anything but Darwinian. Championing the rights of individuals is not Darwinian. Dr.sparemachinery, it is obvious you don’t know a goddamn thing except what you might have read in an article on SLATE or The Huffington post.

      1. the darwinian imperative is the survival of the fittest. however one cares to define fittest; genetically, physically, mentally or economically

        in other words, it is good to be the top predator, everybody else is prey. that sucks

        that sums up her view pretty well. self serving greed at the expense of others. she certainly seems to be sociopathically fit

        leave us not forget, greed is one of the 7 deadly sins.it is not a good way to live. for her or anyone else.

        besides, her “philosophy” doesn’t seem to have served her very well, having died while drawing upon social security, rather than rolling in dough from the sale of her best selling books and hollywood rights to the films. the late years of her life are a good object lesson in the emptiness and failure of her credo.

        1. It is too easy to dismiss, or celebrate, the grand ideas of thinkers like Ayn Rand. They did not have access to the fresh research that we have today, which casts human nature into a cold, new light, free of casual philosophical supposition, supported by dead-on experiments that expose a catalogue of inbred biases.

          The burgeoning field of evolutionary psychology has peeled the onion and revealed flaws in every philosophical system, including Randian Objectivism. We are hardly more than impulsive animals playing at godhood.

  3. If Donald Trump and Paul Ryan were actually advocating for Randian political solutions unfiltered, neither one of them would be in office. They get there by convincing the people through Republican double-speak at election time that they’re “conservatives” (centrists really) who will be guardians of the social safety net while cutting taxes for small businesses and the middle class (never the rich; that’s after they get into office).

    The vast majority of Americans, and the world really, don’t subscribe to her ridiculous ideas. Only when these flim flam men dress up in costumes can they win elections, like Trump telling us that his ACA replacement will cover more Americans, then coming close to signing a bill that strips healthcare from millions of Americans. Had the AHCA actually been on the table and debated in 2016, Trump wouldn’t have won the election. Ayn Rand makes for good fodder in a college debate class, but the American people recognize that we need a helping hand from our government.

    1. When did our culture’s mindset flip to come to believe that “we need a helping hand from our govt”? And, what’s enough? What’s adequate? Is it possible that this kind of thinking is the fodder you speak of?

    2. AHCA was merely the first move in the chess game.

      HEALTH CARE IS NOT A RIGHT.

      Most people who oppose socialized medicine do so on the grounds that it is moral and well-intentioned, but impractical; i.e., it is a noble idea — which just somehow does not work. I do not agree that socialized medicine is moral and well-intentioned, but impractical. Of course, it is impractical — it does not work — but I hold that it is impractical because it is immoral. This is not a case of noble in theory but a failure in practice; it is a case of vicious in theory and therefore a disaster in practice.

      Today, however, we are seeing the rise of principled immorality in this country. We are seeing a total abandonment by the intellectuals and the politicians of the moral principles on which the U.S. was founded. We are seeing the complete destruction of the concept of rights. The original American idea has been virtually wiped out, ignored as if it had never existed. The rule now is for politicians to ignore and violate men’s actual rights, while arguing about a whole list of rights never dreamed of in this country’s founding documents — rights which require no earning, no effort, no action at all on the part of the recipient.

      You are entitled to something, the politicians say, simply because it exists and you want or need it — period. You are entitled to be given it by the government. Where does the government get it from? What does the government have to do to private citizens — to their individual rights — to their real rights — in order to carry out the promise of showering free services on the people?

      The answers are obvious. The newfangled rights wipe out real rights — and turn the people who actually create the goods and services involved into servants of the state.

      — Leonard Peikoff

      Peikoff delivered the above during a speech in December 11, 1993 regarding the Clinton health care plan of 1993 which was, thankfully, defeated. To bad Obamacare wasn’t, but was rammed through by feckless Democrats decades later (many of whom have now lost their seats because of it).

      1. Still lying about the ACA. The bill that was the result of a years negotiation between both parties. The one reconciled between both houses of congress. the one put up for a vote and the one the ignorant republicans didn’t vote for.

        That one that was supposedly rammed through, after meetings, negotiations, conferences, public meetings?

  4. The difference between US and UK educational aims are quite stark. Here in the UK, including Ayn Rand’s philosophy in political theory classes, is not an invitation to take sides, but merely an attempt to widen the discussion to include alternative thinking. Going all-in for one side or the other without a well thought-out argument would be marked as ‘cant’ and get you a C-.
    The Friedland article is stuffed with irony.

  5. Ayn Rand was a brilliant, interesting, but emotionally damaged individual. Her damaged psyche is understandable, and I bear her memory no ill will, but in the end, she was a sociopath.

    The very basis of society is goodwill and mutual reliance.

    1. “The very basis of society is goodwill and mutual reliance.”

      The first part means respecting each others individual rights (the only real rights that list) and leaving one another alone if they do not want to be involved.

      The second part is an assumption. Today, reliance (when not mutually agreed on) on each other is merely rationalizing the state taking what it wants from citizens without their consent.

  6. The poor are typically not poor because they choose to be (i.e. they won’t work), but because they did not receive the advantages that others did that enabled them to escape or avoid poverty.

    Any society that does not look after those who are disadvantaged is one that I would not want to be part of.

  7. It deeply saddens me to see so many moronic and uninformed statements about the philosopher who taught me that I am no one’s cog. I am not a black man, or an African-American. Nor am I a member of any category or group that simple minds insist on shoving me into.

    I am an individual and I choose who and what I become. I am not a victim, nor am I the result of genetic lineage that can be traced to Africa.

    It is through her writing early on that I began to observe who the racists in the world truly were. I.e. those who profit by it and exist to perpetuate it.

    I also began to understand why so many black people expressed a loathing for other blacks who pursued achievement, excellence, and individuality.

    If I could, I would make We The Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas mandatory reading for young black kids.

    I already donate quantities of Atlas to neighborhood schools that teach economics.

    Steve Jobs is said to have been influenced by Atlas, and I can see that in many of his quotes and writings.

      1. Derek, Thelonious spilled his heart in defence of the individualist manifesto. That’s worthy of respect, regardless of the philosophies that curdle your rashers.

        1. Curdle ‘my’ rashers? Individualism is core to being human. The natural world is diversity. There is no viable monoculture.

          However, treating your fellow man as a commodity, trashing the future of humanity for the sake of a philosophy worthy of a 2-year-old is a fast path to hell.

          IOW: Ayn Rand is just another box of self-destruction. She’s no path to anywhere but personal delusion and harm to others.

          One sociopathic book that inspired the woman:
          http://theprincebookfree.com

          IOW: There’s nothing innately evil about capitalism until sociopaths get their lunatic hands on it.

          IOW: Simplicity is merely simple-mindedness.

          1. but what did you think of Thelonious’s life story, a path to self-actualisation? If Ayn Rand inspired just one man to escape from self-loathing and cultural suicide, is that a story that deserves to dismissed on account of a thousand malefactors who embraced her principles to justify their misdeeds? And Macchiavelli was simply telling the truth of the transactional world he, and we, inhabit. How is that more nefarious than spinning up a moral fabric that enfeebles the minds of billions and inspires violence and genocide on a planetary scale — namely, the Holy Bible?

          2. “There’s nothing innately evil about capitalism until sociopaths get their lunatic hands on it.” A nice turn of phrase, one that turns Marx on his head. The trouble with this cool viewpoint is that capitalism is exactly the social tableau that excites, energises, and enables sociopaths to diverge from their small tyrannies into global schemes of dominance. IOW: capitalism breeds sociopaths.

          3. Luke 6:31 — Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It doesn’t get simpler than that. I suppose that implies, according to your axiom, that simple-minded fools will fall for it. Well, I guess they do, in rather large numbers. The twist, however, is that people don’t behave in accordance with their fervent beliefs. That complicates your folksy rubric.

            1. I’m not going to reply to any of your three posts on curdling rashers. They, and this one in particular, go off into cognitive dissonance. That’s not a place to have a reasonable discussion. Simply consider me anti-sociopathy, anti-Rand, anti-Ryan. Hopefully, that at least, is clear.

    1. Thank you for sharing. And thanks for giving back to the community… I struggled through Atlas- I enjoyed the ideas but the pace and the writing style were difficult. I’m going to check out her other works… Maybe better for me on Audible

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