There is a new book in the White House and it was written by a Russian born woman. Her book expresses the philosophy of rugged, uncompromising individualism, the fear of an overbearing government and a conformist world in the corporate boardroom. The book now has a follower in the White House and many places of power.
Who was this Russian woman, she is Ayn Rand, born in 1905 in St Petersburg, Russia, who saw her family impoverished and driven to the edge of starvation by the Soviets, an experience that forged her contempt for all flavors of socialism. She left Russia in 1926 and immigrated to America.
Her first successful book was the Fountainhead published in 1943, which tells the story of Howard Roark, a brilliant and dedicated architect who destroyed one of his own buildings rather than allow his designs to be modified for some nebulous collective good. Then, in 1957, came Atlas Shrugged, the story revolves around John Galt, an inventor and capitalist genius, who leads a walk out of the people who actually made the country run, leaving the hangers-on’s to struggle to survive.
In those novels and in the lectures that followed she explained her philosophy called Objectivism. It described a belief that “man exists for his or her own sake, that the pursuit of happiness is the highest moral purpose, that we must not be forced to sacrifice for others. Her books described a country dying from over regulation and too much government control. One that had so many corporate sycophants that they slowed the wheels of innovation and in fact stopped progress. The world began to decay while the government and corporate fat cats continued to dance the night way.
Her work appealed to a reader who was young and searching for an ideology that presented a high ground for dreaming of and then becoming successful. One of her most early follower was Alan Greenspan who was later appointed by President Reagan to serve as chair of the US Federal Reserve. He was one of the architects of the Reagan free-market philosophy a bulwarks of American capitalism.
Now a new group of champions for Rand’s philosophy has arisen starting with Trump himself who named the Fountainhead as one of his favorite books. Along with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and CIA director Mike Pompeo have named her works among the most influential in their lives.
So why does this group claim to be inspired by her? The answer is that Rand shapes her hero as the people of action who get things done. She makes heroes out of entrepreneurs, people who shape the future by relying on their own instincts, intuition, knowledge and surrounding themselves with like-minded people.
However, there is a difference here, a transformation from the idea of all for themselves, to one of service for their country. These very successful people are giving up a life of billionaires to try to reform our country. This is far different from those who become rich and then build a bubble around themselves and their friends. These new heroes, who are working to save our country, have seen the opportunities that helped them become rich and successful; being destroyed the pass administration’s vision of re-distributing wealth created by our workers and giving it to other countries and people living here who contribute nothing.
Therefore, some of our best and most successful have stood up and said no more. Their intent is to roll back government and give the free market a chance to provide jobs and wealth to those who want to work for it. For those that just want to be supported by those who are working, things are about to change. No one will starve, but big screen TVs and cars are something they might just have to work for to enjoy. A new world where farmers don’t have to worry about the EPA declaring a seasonal stream a national waterway, a world where proposed new rules are carefully examined to make sure they make sense.
In her book Atlas Shrugged Rand described a world where the finest and most creative people pulled out and setup their own enclave and allowed society to collapse , but today we have those same people she described as heroes standing up and working to re-establishing what made America great. They are enduring great personal criticism, yet working long and hard to return to us and our children the opportunities for success, we need to thank them greatly for their sacrifice and hope they can turn the tide so Rand’s prediction of our society being devoured by the demands of socialism never occurs.