In response to an article and featured comment on the UK’s The Economist, I must say that I can heartily disagree! The appeal of Ayn Rand isn’t in the absolute belief of her utopia of pure capitalism at the expense of the common good. It is a recognition that like unrestrained capital, monopoly, duopoly, oligarchy and totalitarianism, the concentration of power in the hands of the elite few, leads to enormous consequence.
There are many parallels in Atlas Shrugged to modern U.S. political and socioeconomic circles today. In the name of the “common good” the government has indicated that carbon must be regulated, soft drinks can only be sold in increments of 16 oz. and you must participate in certain forms of commerce, or pay a tax. All of these examples are an intrusion into the personal choices of a supposed free people and the people have a right to be concerned about the direction this portends for the American experiment.
While there are certainly people who would appreciate a sycophantic world view presented by Rand, but that isn’t what is driving appreciation for her books. It is the ideal that less government is better government. It doesn’t mean no government, or poisoned air, water or even the death of small creatures. The great appeal among conservatives for Rand’s books and ideas, it the very notion that personal responsibility and reason can propel a society forward and that it is not the place of government to guarantee any but the most basic of outcomes: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Equality of opportunity, not outcome. Save that for Europe and tell me how that is working for Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain.
The last sentence has nothing to do with the people of those countries, but rather the governments they have elected. Despite crushing debt, they continue to riot at the austerity needed to save their nation. They are on the brink of social and civil collapse and the continue to demand their welfare. Some of us in the U.S. are intelligent enough to see the writing on the wall. God forbid we fail to act in time as it will result in a cataclysmic shift in how the world operates. Maybe liberals in America wish for that, but ask yourselves the question, when the next totalitarian regime destroys your peace in Europe, who do you think will be there to pick up and rebuild your pieces if America falters?