“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.”
“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.